The social, emotional, and cognitive development of a child is significantly influenced by sensory integration. According to sensory integration theory, a child’s capacity to learn fundamental skills may be hindered by sensory processing issues. Teachers frequently notice this in children who “fall behind” in class due to their sensory systems’ inefficiency. You may have seen a child who struggles to stay focused during a game or a child who is always on the go and unable to focus long enough to finish a task. These kids might not know how to handle the various sensory inputs they are being exposed to.
Sensory integration is important in schools for the following reasons:
- A child is able to focus more
- There is increased participation in class activities
- Promotes independence as the children learn to self-regulate
WAYS OF ACCOMMODATING CHILDREN WITH SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDERS IN SCHOOLS
For a child with sensory integration disorder, the classroom can frequently be a difficult environment. The comfort and behavior of these pupils might be enhanced by teachers using sensory integration activities. The exercises are designed to increase a child’s capacity for focus, calmness, and stillness.
The same strategies that work for one youngster may not be ideal for another. The core principle, though, remain the same. These strategies include:
- Classroom planning, schedules, and routines
It’s crucial to follow a schedule that rarely changes. The kids can follow along more easily because of this. Give notice of routine modifications in advance if there are any changes. There should be brain breaks built into this program throughout the day. That enables them to let go of any tension that may have been brought on by over stimulation.
- Promotion of self-regulation
These assist kids in independently assessing their degree of concentration. Self-regulation is encouraged by techniques such as providing a quiet workspace for use when necessary, offering earplugs or headphones to help with noise sensitivity, keeping chewing gum on hand, or attaching a chewable item to the end of a pencil for a student who is sensory stimulation etc.
- Assignments and instructions
Children that have these problems do require special and accommodating care. What a teacher might do is: Reduce the requirement for handwriting by switching to fill-in-the-blank questions instead of short-answer questions, give them more time to write to account for proprioception issues and motor skill tiredness, use a highlighter or sticky notes to keep the student focused and attentive, etc.
Remember that it is always important to consult an occupational therapist. They will provide guidance on what to do. We have occupational therapists who are ready and willing to help. We also provide sensory integration tools. Check out our website for more information https://thesmartsensory.com/ . Lastly, always do your research on how to promote a sensory friendly and accommodating environment at school.