Lights and Colors

A certain amount of light is necessary for eyes to do their job, but different amounts of light may affect children differently. If your child is easily overstimulated by visual input, bright lights or moving lights may be excessively distracting. It may be difficult for him to concentrate in a room with a flickering overhead light or to calm down in a room that's overly bright.

Dimmed lights may be calming and comforting for kids with sensory integration problems, and colored lights can also have a soothing effect. When you're looking into things that might be causing your child to be agitated or distracted, consider lighting as a potential problem.

Look out for glare as a possible distraction or discomfort for your child. Do windows let in too much light, and does that light hit your child in an uncomfortable way? Putting a shade on windows, or moving your child's desk to a spot where glare is not a factor, can lessen the problem your child has with too-bright light. If bright sunlight makes her squint, gives her headaches, or causes her eyes to water when she's outside, invest in a well-made pair of childproof sunglasses.

Natural light or regular light bulbs will be more comfortable for children with visual sensitivities than fluorescent lighting. While you may not have the ability to change the lights used in your child's school, let the teacher know that the lights may distract him. She may be able to turn the lights off if your child is acting up.

Colors can also be overstimulating for your child. Bright hues may be overwhelming if your child has trouble filtering out excess visual information, or motivating if your child needs a lot of input to get the message. You may find your child can fall asleep or calm himself more easily in a room with subdued colors and be more alert in a room that uses color to draw attention to important areas.

Simple, bold contrasts between colors can be helpful in giving your child an idea of where things begin and end and what the distance is between them. Tune in to your child's color preferences and use them to help him maintain a good balance between over- and understimulation.

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