When it comes to helping children overcome learning difficulties (a.k.a. learning disabilities, a.k.a. learning differences), my favorite way to teach, and typically children’s favorite way to learn, is by playing games.
Because some games can be so fun and effective at strengthening targeted learning skills, I decided that it was time for me to begin a series about games for learning.
Introducing game #1: Acuity.
First, let’s talk about why Acuity can be so helpful.
If we happen to have strong visual spatial skills (yay us), we probably take them for granted. Students who have difficulty in this area, however, may have all sorts of trouble with certain tasks, and yet they may have no idea why.
What Visual Spatial Difficulty Looks Like
Visual spatial difficulty can show up in many ways.
In writing it might look like improper spacing, or disorganization on the page.
In spelling it might be trouble arranging letters in the proper order.
In math it might look like trouble lining up the numbers.
In reading comprehension it might be trouble interpreting directional words like left and right, above and below.
In getting around in the world, it might look like trouble reading a map. Or, if you’re like me, having a terrible sense of direction.
These are just a handful of examples, but you get the idea that visual spatial skills are really, really important!
The good news is that visual spatial awareness, is one of those learning skills that, in my personal opinion, can be the most fun to develop. Kids can play with Legos or blocks or go on a treasure hunt to practice reading a map. They can solve puzzles or play directional games like Simon Says. They can also play…
Use Acuity as a 2 or more player game or use it specifically for therapeutic intervention.
The object, in a nutshell, is to match patterns. The big challenge, however, is that the tile with the pattern you are trying to match doesn’t actually have a single matching tile. You will have to find the same pattern in a sea of tiles that combine to create your pattern. This feature alone also happens to strengthen visual figure ground skills, and visual discrimination, not to mention attention!
What I love about Acuity
Looking at a sea of tiles can be visually overwhelming. Similarly, looking at a sea of words on a page can be visually overwhelming for some children. You can understand, then, if this is one reason your child resists reading. With Acuity, you can systematically reduce that overwhelm.
You can teach your child how to scan from left to right, top to bottom, (visual tracking)
You can teach her how to use the process of elimination. (critical thinking)
You can teach him to focus on only one tile at a time, which may prove to be faster overall than trying to take in the patterns all at once.
You can use only 2 tiles at a time to teach, for instance, same vs different (visual discrimination).
Similarly, you can ask questions like: “How many tiles can you position with the blue circle in the top-left corner?”
This game requires a fair amount of concentration, which means you’re also secretly building attention skills, without overtly working on attention skills.
Game play is fairly quick.
It’s never the same game twice.
No reading is required.
The tiles are vibrant and engaging.
Children (and adults alike) can play solo anytime.
Oh, and besides visual spatial skills, Acuity also strengthens pattern recognition and processing speed!
Want to see Acuity in action? Fat Brain Toys has a video for you. No affiliate link here. Just the joy of sharing more learning tools with you.
Or, learn all about game #2 here!