Everyone has sensory processing. This is your brain’s capability to take in, organize, and comprehend sensory information. We are able to respond and react to different environment demands because of this internal process.
In the classroom, some students are able to filter out competing stimuli effectively while others, particularly those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), often have difficulty self-regulating sensory stimuli.
Things like noisy pencil sharpeners, flickering lights or a hard chair can cause a reaction in their brains and bodies. This affects their behavior, learning and social world and they need help. The good news is there are more teachers in the classrooms now that are trained for sensory processing disorder and often have strategies they use to help students with SPD.
Below are 5 sensory processing strategies you can use in your classroom.
1. Schedule movement activities that are structured throughout the day for the entire class like yoga positions and stretching. This reenergizes students.
2. Organize materials in cabinets and bins to minimize visual distractions. Promote a calm learning environment by adding in green plants, sunlight, fish tanks and more natural environment objects.
3. Keep the noise level down in your classroom or if necessary, offer noise-canceling headphones.
4. Give students a choice on how they want to sit during class (folded bubble wrap, air cushion, large therapy ball, bean bag, etc.).
5. Put a light material covering over florescent lights or use lamps.
If you have a student who has a meltdown, this is typically because one of their senses is having difficulty processing information. If needed, you might want to bring in a pediatric occupational therapist into the classroom to help avoid meltdowns.