Light box

Lyra has been been working on activities using a light box during her last few sessions with her TVI. Specifically she has been working on shapes and color sorting. Using the light box really motivates her to sustain her attention to an activity for a longer period of time. It makes the learning activity more fun and visually stimulating.

Illuminating the colors and shapes makes them easier to see. Because she doesn’t have to work so hard to SEE the objects, she is able to focus more of her energy on learning the actual colors and shapes, i.e. cognitive learning.

Here is some useful information I found on the website for the Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired.


By: Michelle Clyne

Please take care to incorporate the use of the light box into some sort of routine…..teach parents, caregivers and other teachers how important this is, otherwise, it’s just “VI time”, and that is only good for the VI teacher, not the students we serve. No offense to anyone, please!

50 WAYS TO USE A LIGHT BOX (Lyrics with apologies to Paul Simon)

For eating, use the light box as a table:

  1. Juice in a clear cup or bottle will glow and encourage reaching.
  2. Scatter m&ms on the surface (know your audience!)
  3. Scatter cheerios on the surface
  4. Scatter small or large crackers on the surface.
  5. Set a table by having child match place, cup and spoon with a transparent outline of these objects on the light box.
  6. Set plate with slice of bread, container of light colored jelly on a light box, (apricot suggested), help child shift gaze from jelly jar to bread as he or your takes jelly to spread on bread.
  7. Jello in clear container will glow.
  8. Help child mix colored soft drink mix into a clear glass of water and watch the color develop.

Art, using light box (covered in clear plastic as easel or table:

  1. Finger paint onto parchment paper with foam paint.
  2. Paint with dark colored pudding
  3. Paint with whipped topping on red or blue transparency.
  4. Use watercolors on parchment paper.
  5. Sprinkle powdered tempera paint on parchment paper; help child spray on water and watch color spread and swirl.
  6. Roll clay into strings and lay out in interesting shapes on light box.
  7. Use Wikki Sticks to make raised line outlines.
  8. Use “Smelly” markers on tissue paper.
  9. Make a necklace using beads and string (APH)

Simple reaching:

  1. APH “Spinner” motivates reaching to start or stop the spinner.
  2. Slinky (connected to handle and hanging over lighted surface, wrap other end onto student’s wrist to encourage arm movement.
  3. Stack up blocks so that simple arm or leg movement knocks them down.
  4. Leave a koosh ball on the light box
  5. On a large light box, put pressure switch attached to a vibrating pillow. Position the child so that slight pressure on the switch makes the pillow vibrate. Help the child shift gaze between the pillow and light box.

Movement difficulties:

  1. Adult helps with any of the activities here when the child signals the adult to continue
  2. Student uses adaptive switch to turn on the light box.
  3. Small infants can be positioned prone on the light box for Tummy Time.
  4. In supported 90 degree sitting, a small child can crinkle mylar paper under their foot or feet while they rest on a light box.
  5. Have child eye point to choose 1 of 2 items lined up on light box.

During class:

  1. Make transparencies of circle/calendar time pictures and show on the light box.
  2. Make transparent digital pictures of classmates and familiar adults, show them using light box, asking child to identify “so and so”.
  3. Have child construct daily schedule on light box using pictures made into transparencies.
  4. Count manipulatives lined up on light box.
  5. Tracing letters onto light box. Bold marker on lightweight paper taped to light box.
  6. “Sense of Science” (APH) overlays can encourage gaze shift, recognition, etc.
  7. Do sorting activities on the light box
  8. Choose rhythm instruments by the outline they make on the light box.
  9. Use light box to highlight dark lines that need to be cut for scissor projects.

Daily Living Routines

  1. To get dressed, put sock and shoe on light box, have child eye point to item needed next.
  2. Put wash cloth and tooth brush on box, ask child to choose which they want to do first. Choose with eye pointing, finger pointing, naming, switches……
  3. Before going to doctor, store, etc, show child transparencies of those activities on light box.

Make believe play

  1. Put dress up items on light box. Have child identify items and choose how they want to dress up; i.e. baseball cap vs. construction hat.
  2. Put play hammer or similar object next to play area so that child can choose to play house or play construction.
  3. Trace outlines of make believe characters/action figures to make pictures of them, then use picture to write a story.
  4. Tell stories with pictures by using real objects on light box to create a “shadow Puppet” type of performance (for example, twigs make trees and a “Barbie” type doll becomes Goldilocks).

Other activities

  1. With and adapter, look at a “Discovery Light Book” on the light box.
  2. Play “Break the Ice” on a large light box.
  3. Play hands only “Twister” with a transparent color circle overlay on the big light box.
  4. Play table top hockey (quarter with fingers) on the large light box.
  5. Make a woven pot holder putting the loom and loops on a dimmed light box.
  6. Thumb wrestle with a friend on the light box

Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On

Okay so I found some time to make this video.

This is my attempt at zooming in on Lyra’s eyes so that you can see the degree/severity of her nystagmus. I apologize for my crappy camcorder skills. Between me not holding the camera steady and Lyra’s wiggling, it’s hard to know what shaking is actually her nystagmus. Every once in a while I was able to catch her holding still with her eyes wide open. Look for those moments and then you should see her nystagmus.

The first part of the video was filmed in the early afternoon and the second half was right before her bedtime. Sometimes her nystagmus is more noticeable when she is tired. See if you can tell a difference. I couldn’t. 😛

Nevermind my singing…LOL… I promise I really do have a degree in music education. 😛

Vision Update

I have been meaning to post this for several weeks. Lyra visited her pediatric ophthalmologist for a check-up last month.

They dialated her eyes this time to see if her refractive error had changed, and it did. Her prescription changed from +2.50 to +3.25 in her left eye and from +2.75 to +3.75 in her right eye. It’s not a huge jump or anything, but to change that much in only 6 months freaks me out just a little. Dr. Grin said her biggest issue is her astigmatism. She said it is fairly common for people with albinism to have a significant astigmatism.
So she is getting new glasses. We decided not to get her the transition lenses this time. With Lyra becoming more comfortable outside, I worried that the transition lenses just wouldn’t be dark enough. Instead we are getting her a pair with clear lenses and also a pair of prescription sunglasses. Hopefully we will have them in a week or so.

The health of her eyes is good, no problems there. Dr. Grin said the alignment of her eyes still looks great and her nystagmus is very minimal. I’ve said this before, but I rarely notice her nystagmus at all. I often wonder how this compares to other kids with albinism. I say her nystagmus isn’t that bad, but what does that mean really? As soon as I have some time (Ha Ha), I am going to get a close up video of her eyes and her nystagmus and post it on here so you all can see exactly how bad or not bad it is.

As far has her functional vision progress goes, I have just one thing I want to mention while I’m thinking about it. 🙂 She is doing really good with walking up and down steps inside on her own. When walking up or down steps outside, she is extremely hesitant and ALWAYS needs help. She clutches my finger tightly and I have to say “step” for EVERY step so she knows to feel for it with her foot and then go up or down. I really don’t think she has a clue where the next step is. It just tells me how much her sensitivity to those bright lighting conditions can affect her overall visual abilities.