Back to school for kids with issues part 2: Prep for teachers


Teachers have a difficult task set before them each year: to educate roughly 25 to 35 kids with a variety of interests, styles of thinking and in some cases mental or emotional health issues. In part one of this series, The Therapy Shoppe was mentioned as a great online source for parents, therapists and teachers in need of supplies for students with these issues.

The classroom environment can hinder or increase creativity in students who struggle with mental or emotional health problems. There are products which can help to alter the environment these students learn in for the better. Yet, there is one common item in most classrooms throughout America which may hinder learning and focus: fluorescent light fixtures.

Fluorescent light fixtures

They flicker, buzz and bother students more often than not, yet fluorescent lights are the go-to form of lighting for most classrooms. Executive Director at the Irlen Institute, Helen L. Irlen, M.A., explains how the institute has found a connection between fluorescent lights and ADD, ADHD and dyslexia.

Irlen explains that people affected by fluorescent lighting, “Stress and tire quickly,” as their, “reading ability quickly deteriorates and productivity suffers in the classroom and on the job.” Fluorescent lights may be common in most classrooms, but could be traded for other forms of lighting, as Irlen refrences  a 2006 study by Capital E. The study finds students who worked under, “Natural lighting instead of fluorescent lighting had 10 to 21 percent higher learning rates and test scores.”

When a child begins to feel the looming fatigue or other effects from fluorescent lights, how is a teacher supposed to react? Especially in a situation, where neither the teacher nor the student are aware of the lights being the cause. Irlen stresses the need to switch fluorescent lighting for other more beneficial forms of lighting. “Fluorescent lighting may cause pain and suffering for 12-14 percent of the world’s population, triggering headaches, migraines, and other physical symptoms.”

What is a teacher to do?

The teacher is not to blame and neither is the school. In most cases, school districts are on a budget and simply cannot replace all lights in the school for natural ones. One tool, which can help teachers deal with fluorescent lights in the classroom is on the Therapy Shoppe’s website. The Therapy Shoppe was mentioned in part one of this series and has a variety of tools designed for therapists, teachers and parents in need of therapeutic learning and relaxation tools. One tool is a classroom light filter.

These filters are flame retardant, colorful, and “Create a calming atmosphere while diffusing the harsh glare and flickering of fluorescent lights.” Merely place the covers over a light fixture and continue teaching class in a new and slightly more comforting atmosphere. The classroom can become a place in which the students are relaxed instead of on edge and naturally apt to learn and grow. This product is only one of many which can help to promote a healthy learning atmosphere.

White River Academy provides researched and unique treatment and care for troubled boys from ages 12 to 17. The academy follows a boarding school format, offering mindful guidance through a disciplined education program and instilling character values through service projects to promote positive growth. For more information or to register, feel free to call 866-520-0905.

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