As we get ready for back-in-school season, some students warrant special consideration about placement in the classroom. After all, 360 degree visual awareness is very rare.
In the old days, we’d make recommendations about seating toward the front of the room, or on a particular side of the room, but conventional rows of seating no longer exist in most schools. More commonly now one will find pods or similar cluster seating arrangements that are angular or circular, rather than linear.
With portals like Smart Tech, there is increasing opportunity to adapt visual presentations to the student’s needs. However there is still need to advise educators on the visual needs of particular students, with the most effective route being through the child’s IEP or Section 504 Accommodations. In our experience, even after these recommendations are made to the school, a parent or advocate has to remain vigilant to be certain that they are implemented.
The most common recommendations that we’ll make is for preferential seating so that the student is centered with visual presentations, and as close to the presentations as possible. However there are individual exceptions. Just yesterday I saw a child with cogwheel nystagmus and non-comitant strabismus that worsened considerably on gaze to the right. He had an adaptive, habitual head turn to the right and we Rxed yoked prisms bases right. I reviewed with his parents the importance of placing learning material to the left of midline. We also communicated to his teacher so that preferential seating could be given to load as much information being viewed toward his left side as possible.