QUESTION: How to Address Visual Over- and Under-Responsiveness?

QUESTION:

If a child is over- or under-responsive to visual stimuli, how does a therapist use a sensory diet to help?

GWEN’S ANSWER:

For visual over-responsiveness, try these suggestions:

  • Implement a sensory diet with primarily calming strategies (BrainWorks yellow or red arrow activities). Whole-body calming helps visual over-responsiveness.
  • Allow access to visually calming strategies. These differ from person to person, but most people find things like lava lamps and bubble tubes to be visually calming.
  • Recommend modifications and adaptations to minimize visual over-stimulation. Some examples include study carrel, sunglasses, cozy shades for lights, full-spectrum lighting rather than fluorescent, minimizing visual clutter, and allowing a student to wear a cap to limit the visual field.

For visual under-responsiveness, try these suggestions:

  • Implement a sensory diet with primarily alerting strategies (BrainWorks green arrow activities). Whole-body alerting strategies usually helps with visual under-responsiveness.
  • Recommend modifications and adaptations such as seating the student close and directly in front of the teacher, keeping lights on directly above the teacher but dimming the lights elsewhere in the classroom, and encouraging the teacher to stand in front of black background as much as possible when speaking. You could use black roll paper on a wall to create this effect.
  • Assess visual-perception and oculomotor skills and treat accordingly since deficits in these areas can present as visual under-responsiveness.

Our view-on-demand webinar titled “Visual Perception” has lots of great tips and tricks for addressing visual issues as well:

https://www.sensationalbrain.com/shop/the-visual-system-webinar/

I hope that helps! Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Best Wishes,
Gwen