Friday, June 15, 2012

Lightbox Activities and Making Your Own Equipment

I mentioned before that our therapist fro ASB (Arkansas School for the Blind) was using a type of waterbag with Liam on the Lightbox to simulate fluid motion and work on his visual motor skills, and I also mentioned how I could not find these anywhere for purchase. Liam loved playing with the fluid, pushing the colors all over the light box and the floating fish inside the bags. I did end up finding a set of red ones for purchase but it was a set of lightbox activities and was very expensive. (If you want to check into these kits, click HERE to redirect to the American Printing House for the Blind website.)

Anyway, since we did not purchase the set, our therapist Pam gave us instructions on how to make our own waterbags. We made smaller versions of these this past week to test them out before we make more colors in the larger bags and after seeing how well they worked for us I thought I would share Mrs. Pam’s “recipe” for them. They work great for us and Liam loves to chase the “fishes” and mix the colors together and hopefully they will work for your little lovie as well.

Lightbox Activities
• Zip-lock freezer bags can be used on the lightbox to enhance looking behavior and to encourage visual motor progress. (Consider double-bagging to avoid leakage.)
• Only use lightbox and waterbags when lightbox is unplugged from charger.
• Fill the bag with clear hair gel then add several drops of food coloring. The color gets mixed as the child presses on the gel surface. The color, light and movement properties will attract the child's visual attention. Begin with a single color only.
• Add colored beads or cut out shapes. The slightest touch will create movement without auditory competition. Again, color, light and movement properties should attract the child's visual attention. Even the slightest touch will create movement of the beads facilitating independent interaction with the materials. Begin with single color beads.


Use Water
• Fill the bag with warm water and add drops of food coloring.
• Release transparent or colored beads into the water.
• Add bright, single color (later, two colors) shapes cut from acetate sheets. Shape punches from craft stores work very well or look for colored transparent objects that can be used in the zip lock bags from dollar stores. Select objects that have rounded edges so they do not rupture the bags. Bingo chips and small plastic balls work well.

(I think that she also mentioned that you can mix one with water and gel and then add the food coloring and objects to it as well but we did not test this method out yet.)

Additional Lightbox Activities
• Transparent containers used with transparent, colored objects can be used on the lightbox for visual-motor, placing, and sorting activities.
For sorting, cover the lid of the container with black paper, leaving only the shape opening uncovered. The light from the lightbox will shine through the opening creating a high contrast target for placement of the shape.
• A black grid and colored pegs (APH Product #1-08665-00) can facilitate visual motor, placement and sorting/matching activities. Remember to consider visual field function when presenting the activity and match color to the child's color preference.
• APH Familiar Object Pictures (APH #1-08666-00) are very helpful for recognition of two-dimensional information. These colored translucent pairs of pictures depict 15 common household objects that are very similar in form and color.
• APH Plexiglass Spinner and Patterns (APH #1-08664-00) can be placed on the lightbox and can be easily activated by touch and it does not have potentially distracting auditory input. Color may be added to the spinners to make them more CVI appropriate.
• Beginning puzzles can be made from black foam board and translucent color shapes (APH #1-08663-00). Start with single shape puzzles, favorite color shapes.
• Include other translucent, single color, non-auditory objects for lightbox play (plastic slinky was one we used in therapy)

***Also thought I would mention if you don’t have access to a Light box or want to spend the money to purchase one you can use an artists' tracer (the same exact thing, the light box used for therapy is just more durable and made to take a beating). We found a great artist tracer to use is the LightPad, which is slightly expensive but available at Hobby Lobby stores for 40% off with their online coupon. So paying instead of paying $99.99 you could pay $59.99 for the small one, or $83.99 for the larger one instead of $139.99. So if you can’t find a Light box just search for an artists' tracer/light tracer.

*Here are a few brands I found online:
American Printing House for the blind Lite Box
Art-O-Graph Lightracer
GAGNE Porta-Trace
The beginning.

With colors added.

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