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Using iOS Tracing Apps: Part 2, O&M

Orientation and Mobility related tracing, scanning and tracking activities to compensate for blindspots.

Scotomas – blind spots – can impact a student educationally in the classroom and as the student moves through his environment.  Young students with scotomas are at risk for running into objects such as a book bag on the floor, pole in between school doors, moving balls in the gym, and peers running around the playground. 

Students can learn to compensate for these gaps in their vision, starting with seat activities with both the student and the activity remaining stationary, then activities where the student is stationary but working with a moving object and/or the student is moving and the object is stationary, and finally progressing to both the student and object are moving.

Seat work activities

See the Paths to Technology post, Using iOS Tracing Apps: Young Students with Blind Spots for detailed information about tracing apps and activites. 

Initially, it is easiest for the student to use his finger to trace a stationary object.  Then, have the student use his finger to touch or track a moving object.  In addition to tracing apps, there are many visual scanning apps that have moving objects, such as:

Screenshot of ChittyChitty Original app with red ball following curvy blue lines.ChittyChitty Original, where a red ball moves along trails.

screenshot of Catch, Fido, Catch! app with a bone, ball and shoe falling from the sky.Catch, Fideo, Catch!  Fido is a cute little puppy who loves to run, jump and play.  Catch the bones and balls for extra points!

 

When a student is doing seat  work, he/she is working on a limited plane.   It is important to teach students to look up, down, left and right (various planes); be sure to include scanning and tracking activities while standing and while moving.  Young students will often only look for objects on one plane – if the student keeps his head up and looks straight ahead, he will find objects at head height.  If the student tends to look down at his feet (especially when walking), he may only find objects on the ground.  Encourage the student to look for objects on all planes.  When searching for an object, teach the student to use a systematic approach.  When tracking an object, track objects moving horizontally, vertically, diagonally, and in varied patterns.

Student stationary; objects moving

Choose activities that involve objects that are interesting to your student.  Have the student stand/sit still while visually tracking a moving object.  Initially, try having the student point to the object, then track the object with his finger.  Observe how the student is able to follow the object (smooth or jerky movements?) and observe how the student’s eyes and head positions as he/she tracks.

 

Student moving; object stationary

Student moving; object moving

If possible, introduce these skills and activities in a quiet environment.  As the student progresses, include several peers with the activity.  Remember, the long-term goal is to help the student learn to be safe (and actively participating) in busy environments such as in gym class, on the playground, and in his/her community.    The student will not be safe crossing streets if he unable to visually and/or auditorily track moving traffic!  These tracing, scanning and tracking activities will help the student learn to position his/her head and eyes to be able to look around the scotoma, will help the student to anticipate typical lines/trajectories and will help the student to process visual information in order to “fill-in-the-gaps”.

 

By Diane Brauner

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