Using the APH Lightbox
By: Carmen Willings
Updated June 6, 2019
The APH Lightbox was designed to help teach basic visual skills as well as more complex visual-motor and visual-perceptual skills. The high contrast background created by the Lightbox’s illuminated surface makes a variety of visual tasks easier to perform. The goal is that using brightly colored items will motivate students to utilize their vision. The following guidelines are from APH:
The lightbox, available through the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is used to help develop an awareness of light, color, and objects. It can also be used as a tool to facilitate visual tracking, visual scanning, eye-hand coordination, visual discrimination, and visual perceptual skills particularly in students that are interested in light-up objects and sources but will not visual attend to or interact with regularly presented materials. The lightboxes available from APH have a lighted translucent white work surface with variable lighting control.
If your student is not eligible for quota funds or for whatever reason those funds are not available, other light boxes or tables can be purchased or even made by placing a string of lights inside a transparent or opaque storage container. Material kits specially designed to use with the APH lightbox can be obtained from APH with quota funds. Although they can be helpful, they don't always meet the unique needs of students and can lack the characteristics that will motivate the student to look or you may just be looking for some variety. The following are some possible materials that can be used with the lightbox.
APH's Lightbox Guidelines
Materials for Developing Eye-Hand Coordination
Present a variety of unit related materials (see dry transfer suggestions) in a clear plastic tray positioned over the lightbox. Have the student trace with their finger or pour the materials in and out of smaller containers or nesting cups. Possible materials to use on the light box: acetate sheets (clear & transparent colored); colored projection markers; colored grease pencils; finger paints in plastic tray; crayons on thin white paper; three-way mirror; colored cellophane; colored tissue paper; thin, boldly patterned or colored wrapping paper; brightly colored plastic lawn chair strapping; tinsel; plexiglass sample squares; brightly colored or patterned fabric; transparent art film (contact paper); black tape; yarn; colored ribbon; doilies; colored buttons; rickrack; colored or patterned wrapping paper.
Materials for Drawing the Student's Attention to Shape & Tracing Around & Copying Shapes
Cookie cutters; coasters; Jell-O molds; stencils; wooden blocks; parquetry pieces; clay or play dough; poster board shapes; Lauri Tactilmat puzzles; Ideal Tactilmat puzzles; Familiar objects with simple contours (a cookie, ball, bar of soap, shoe, or spoon); puzzle pieces; window clings.
Materials to Use with Lightbox to Develop Skills
Colored transparent plastic construction pieces; colored transparent plastic pegs which fit in a pegboard; clear plastic balls with spinning objects inside; brightly colored Teether Ball (projections which make it easy to grasp); rainbow transparent party -ware; Halloween masks; make & bake (colored plastic 'stained glass' ornaments made from simple kit); brightly colored translucent or transparent plastic toys (Easter eggs, pop-beads, etc.); balloons; colored pinwheels; small toy cars; wind-up toys; colored plastic clothespins; plastic Halloween pumpkins; Wikki stick.
Materials to be Sealed in Clear Plastic Bottles
Materials to be sealed in clear plastic bottles to create an interesting object for the student to manipulate over the lightbox: costume jewelry beads; mosaic tiles (transparent plastic squares); marbles; confetti made of colored acetate; colored bath oil beads; fishing "jelly worms" (transparent colors).
APH Material Suggestions for Lightbox
Lightbox materials Kit, available through APH helps in teaching matching and identification skills, part-whole relationships, sequencing, pattern duplication, spatial relationships, and visual memory skills. It includes brightly-colored transparent and translucent shapes, pictured objects, stencils, and cutouts.
This presentation provides instructional and communication strategies for working with students with severe and profound disabilities who are functioning between a birth to two-year-old level. It also provides suggestions for setting up sensory environments and creating adapted materials, so the student has activities to interact with no matter what position or area of the room they are in. I share lightbox activities and how to use iPads and computers as instructional tools. Finally, I share functional literacy activities that embed sensory experiences that you can create with your students. The activities are appropriate for the classroom but can also be used during distance learning. This presentation is packed full of activities you can begin using immediately with your students!
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