visual recognition

What Do iPads Do to Support Students

As discussed many, many times, the strategies for CVI must match the assessment results. We never can just randomly apply a strategy because it will not fit the functional visual needs of the child. If it does not fit the functional visual needs, it will not provide visual access and will not foster improvement of cognitive and visual skills.

With that reminder, I was asked about ideas for iPad apps for children who struggle with visual recognition. Just providing a student with an iPad does not guarantee access. We need to assess the child, think about their visual needs and carefully use the iPad as a tool to provide that access.

What can be some general needs for students who struggle with visual recognition?

Impact of Color: The student might benefit from color highlighting to draw visual attention to specific areas on 3D and 2D materials. That color supports visual attention to the specific place.

Light: Backlighting can helps foster access to materials especially in 2D (pictures and text). Some children do not benefit from backlighting and this should be part of the assessment.

Visual Processing Time: There is still a need for increased time for full visual exploration and full visual understanding.

Visual Field: Lower visual fields might be affected in some children. Other children struggle with visual attention in all fields or “hyper attention” if the scene is too complex. (attends to just one part not taking in the whole scene).

Visual Recognition: Presenting new materials in new kinds of presentations might require the verbal narration of visual attributes.

Clutter: Clutter can affects visual understanding of objects, increased display clutter, of faces, and of the sensory environment.

Distance: Near information is more accessible. Distance curiosity is not typical so distance information is missed.

How do we want the iPad to support the student? 

Impact of Color:

  • Tools for color highlighting help support salient feature discussion in pictures and text.

Light:

  • Backlighting helps with understanding and easy of access to prevent fatigue.
  • Moving to 2D: taking pictures of their items in the environment and then providing the 2D on the backlighted iPad.

Visual Processing Time:

  • Provides ability to capture images and videos for longer visual access time.
  • Capturing images can be reviewed as long as needed.

Visual Field:

  • iPad placement is flexible matched to child’s best visual field.

Visual Recognition:

  • Expanded understanding: Example: Here is one kind of mouse in the book but these are all the other kinds of mice.

Visual Clutter and Access:

  • Enlargement: for things at distance, for small items in complexity and for literacy
  • Overall ability to use settings and apps to reduce complexity of images.
  • Studying facial expression in photographs and videos: salient language of faces matched to voice (auditory). There can be instruction about facial expressions that match the auditory information.
  • Visual attributes of items in photographs and as part of texts.
  • Increasing spacing of words and sentences to reduce clutter.
  • Masking: clutter reduction with tools in Photos.

Distance:

  • Videos on the iPad: to bring information about events and concepts that occur at distance: Example: We are reading about giraffes. I think about providing a child with access to where that animal might live and how they move.
  • Access to distance classroom events: Examples: learning song hand movements for circle time.
  • Community access: taking photographs of signs and environmental materials that can be explored on the backlighted, near placed iPad.

“Duckness: How Do We Know?

Look at this series of pictures. (From American Printing House for the Blind website)

How can very young children with intact visual skills understand that these are all ducks?

They understand “Duckness”.

They have a keen understanding of the visual attributes that make up this “Duckness” because of shared visual experiences with others and with access to pictures, TV and movies that feature ducks. This develops effortlessly for children with intact visual skills.  Without direct instruction, they understand that real ducks are different sizes, colors, and ages. They understand that ducks can be seen in different perspectives depending on where and how they are standing. They understand that ducks can be flat in pictures. They understand that ducks can be symbolic in toys, signs, pictures, colored cartoons and in black and white drawings.

Our children with CVI lack this visual access to “duckness”. They lack the expanded and repeated knowledge about ducks. If they have seen a duck, their idea of “duckness” is limited to that one duck. Due to reduced eye contact with people and with reduced eye to object abilities, adults do not explain the shared salient features that all ducks share.

As adults serving children with CVI, we should be aware of this limited access and limited understanding that can occur in 3D and 2D. We must create opportunities to expand children’s access matched to their assessed functional visual skills. We must evaluate all our materials with this visual access limitation considered. We must adjust our own interactions and instructions to include visual attribute language of the same and different visual feature of items.

Visual Experience, Experience, Experience

For science nerds like me!

“Neuroscientists Reveal How the Brain Learns to Recognize Objects”

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100922121937.htm

This article comes from work being conducted at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). They are studying how humans process visual information for recognition so they can design artificial visual systems. It seems vision is such a complex process! I think parents and teacher have understood this for years!

This great article that drives home the brain’s need for repeated experience to build visual understanding. The brain must have repeated experiences with objects in different kinds of positions, perspectives, lighting, size and distance. It reminds me to provide my students with real objects in repeated, predictable routines to build familiarity. It reminds me not it only present iPad visual targets that can’t be manipulated. The child builds visual recognition from the presentation of objects in multiple positions to view multiple perspectives. If the child is not able to manipulate material themselves, we must provide that varying visual perspective.