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Strategies to support

General provision and strategies

  • Consult with parents to identify potential trigger times and activities.
  • Consider conducting a sensory audit of the school environment.
  • Share strategies and advice with all members of staff to support the child and young person’s sensory diet.
  • Consider referral to the Occupational Therapy Service.
  • Access staff training (such as sensory integration) if needed.
  • Work together with other professionals to share strategies and advice to support the child and young person’s sensory diet.
  • Identify activities which help the child to self regulate. Use these at appropriate times of day to promote access to learning.
  • Consider the impact of break times, dinner time and transitions. Work with the child or young person to develop strategies which help them feel ready to learn.
  • Consider using sensory reduction planning.
  • Consider using individual workstations.
  • Build resilience using timers.

If a child or young person presents with behaviours that are of concern, it will be helpful to observe his/her behaviours in response to the classroom environment and determine the child or young person’s processing profile. The following guidelines will aid your observation:

  • Observe the child or young person in individual activities and groups. This includes large peer groups, small peer groups, and mixed-aged groups. For younger children consider observing in both indoor and outdoor settings, particularly during sensory-rich activities such as water, sand, mud, dirt, and other sensory play.
  • Observe and document the child or young person’s reactions consistently over time to determine if there are any patterns. You may wish to use a structured sensory audit.
  • Remember that it is important to observe a child several times and in multiple situations to appropriately determine his/her processing profile.
  • Look at possible build up of different sensory information over time e.g. a full school day and include a picture of his or her sensory preferences as well as sensitivities.
  • Share this information with the child’s family. They are likely to be able to provide further insight into his/ her individual preferences and needs.
  • If the child or young person presents with a high level of need of dysregulation, consider a referral to Occupational Therapy.

Having gathered observations, identify which systems are thought to be affected:

  • Tactile (touch).
  • Visual (sight).
  • Audiology (hearing).
  • Olfactory (smell).
  • Gustatory (taste).
  • Proprioception (body awareness).
  • Vestibular (movement sense).
  • Introduce sensory activities, items or approaches that enable the child to be appropriately regulated. This may include calming or stimulating activities, dependent on need.
  • Consider what changes can be made to the environment or how strategies are implemented.
  • Review regularly and modify your approach with your new understanding.

Last updated 1 October 2020

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