Some children, particularly those with
Autism Spectrum Disorder,
can face a number of challenges many challenges related to the sensory environment of the classroom and school.
Bright lights, loud noises, textures, smells or tastes,
These sensory stimuli can be disturbing and cause anxiety, irritability or discomfort, which can distract them and interfere with their concentration in class.
- Need more intense sensory stimuli to perceive them
- Failure to detect certain subtle sensations, which may lead them to seek additional sensory stimuli
- Be agitated or have difficulty paying attention in class
Sensory regulation difficulties
- Regulate their reactions and emotions to sensory stimuli
- Adapt to sensory changes, e.g. from a quiet to a noisy environment.
- This can lead to overreaction, avoidance behavior or emotional outbursts
- Communicate their needs, preferences or discomforts related to sensory stimuli.
- Express their feelings verbally.
- Find appropriate strategies to manage their sensory challenges.
Sensory challenges can distract children and affect their ability to focus and maintain attention in the classroom.
Distracting sensory stimuli can divert their attention from learning tasks, leading to difficulties in organization, following instructions or active participation.
1. Environment design
2. Use of sensory tools
Weighted cushions or weighted blankets help children feel secure and calm by providing proprioceptive sensory stimulation.
Earmuffs or noise-cancelling headphones for children who are sensitive to ambient noise. This can help them reduce unwanted noise stimuli and concentrate on their tasks.
Anti-stress or sensory balls for children who need to manipulate objects to concentrate or relax.
Textured mats or tactile surfaces for children who need tactile sensory stimulation to calm or concentrate.
3. Sensory regulation techniques
Deep breathing techniques, such as abdominal breathing, can help children to calm down and refocus when faced with disruptive sensory stimuli.
Regular sensory breaks during the day, when children can take part in soothing activities such as listening to soft music, manipulating sensory objects or gently rocking. This will enable them to relax and regulate their senses.
Relaxation exercises included in the daily classroom routine, such as gentle stretching, simple yoga movements or guided meditation sessions. This can help children manage anxiety and promote a state of calm.