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