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Support for Sensory Processing Issues in Kids

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

Practical ways to support children with sensory challenges in the classroom

I am a mommy of a special needs child, so this subject to close to my heart.

Classroom Accommodation

  • Allowing the use of a fidget spinner

  • Provide earplugs, a quiet space or noise-muffling headphones to assist with noise sensitivity

  • Give advance warning of routine changes. Have a daily routine that changes as little as possible

  • Allow the child to take regular exercise breaks to assist with self-regulation, for example, let them run a quick errand

  • Establish clear starting and ending times for tasks

  • Ensure the child's feet are flat on the floor and that their hips are at a 90-degree angle. Can also make use of alternative seating such as an exercise ball or a stand-up desk

  • Let the student work in a different position, like lying on the floor using a clipboard or at an easel.

  • Make use of a weighted lap pad or wiggle cushion

  • Use blank pieces of paper to cover all but a few of the questions on a page

  • Make use of pencil grips

  • Use highlighters or sticky notes to help the child stay alert and focused

  • Work with the student to come up with non-verbal signals to signify when they are becoming overwhelmed

  • Have a proactive behaviour plan in place for the handling of sensory overload

  • Set up a sensory room or corner, which provides a multi-sensory environment.

Creating a Sensory Room or Space

Some ideas of what to include in a sensory room/corner, depending on the available space and budget.

  1. A trampoline,

  2. Ball pit

  3. Punching bag

  4. Hammock

  5. Fidget spinners

  6. Low lighting such as Christmas lights, lava lamps

  7. Balance beam

  8. Tunnel

  9. Colour fabric hung as curtains

  10. Exercise ball or bean bag

  11. Kinetic sand

  12. Soft music

  13. A Sensory table filled with sand and hidden objects, such as plastic insects