SENSORY FRIENDLY CLASSROOMS- SUPPORTING SENSORIAL LEARNING AND INTEGRATION FOR SCHOOL READINESS

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1 SENSORY FRIENDLY CLASSROOMS- SUPPORTING SENSORIAL LEARNING AND INTEGRATION FOR SCHOOL READINESS Julia Childs Andrews, Disabilities Coordinator Cindy S. Jones, MFT, Mental Health Coordinator Neighborhood House Association

2 WELCOME Who are we? Who are you? Intentions of today s workshop Basic understanding of sensory integration Screening and identifying sensory problems Sensory Processing Disorder types and Strategies that can be used in the classroom for ALL children

3 WHAT IS SENSORY INTEGRATION? The ability to bring all information together from all your senses in an orderly fashion so that you can use the information in it s combined state The Sensory Systems Auditory- Hearing Tactile-Touching/feeling Visual-Seeing Vestibular-Movement and Balance Propioception- Body Awareness Smell (Olfactory) Taste (Gustatory)

4 HOW THE SENSES WORK TOGETHER Sight is the strongest sense for humans The ears hold the key to 2 senses: Hearing and Vestibular sense Sense Memory and Smells/Tastes Touch and Fine Motor Skills Proprioception and Vision Your experiences

5 HOW THE BRAIN MANAGES THE SENSES Modulation: The ability to adjust sensory input Registration: How sensory input makes an impression Input vs. sensation Sensory Threshold Temperament Self-Regulation

6 SCREENING AND IDENTIFYING SENSORY PROBLEMS Why do we need to identify and help? We want all children to have successful learning experiences in preschool so that they are prepared for learning in kindergarten. Sensory problems can mean special challenges that make learning difficult for children in the classroom. Getting help from professionals early can ensure interventions are put in place that will assist parents and teachers in supporting the child s success in managing and overcoming challenges in addition to helping the child have a positive preschool experience.

7 WHAT IS SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER? SPD is a complex disorder of the brain that affects the way that sensory information is organized and processed and needs to be diagnosed by a licensed professional, typically an Occupational Therapist. Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Sensory Modulation Disorder (SMD) Sensory Discrimination Disorder (SDD) Sensory-Based Motor Disorder (SBMD)

8 WHAT DOES SPD LOOK LIKE? Early Head Start (0-3): Problems eating/sleeping Irritable when being dressed; uncomfortable in clothes Rarely plays with toys Resists cuddling, arches away when held Can t calm self Floppy or stiff body, motor delays Cries or melts down in noisy, crowded places or if there are changes in routine Scared of noises

9 WHAT DOES SPD LOOK LIKE? Head Start (3-5): Over-sensitive to touch, noises, smells, other people invading personal space Difficulty making friends Difficulty dressing, eating, sleeping, and/or toilet training Doesn t want to get messy or touch some textures Clumsy; poor motor skills, weak In constant motion, in everyone s face/space Frequent or long temper tantrums Not aware of when they get hurt (don t cry, don t startle, unaware of their injuries)

10 SPD SOUNDS LIKE AUTISM, DOESN T IT? 1 in about 20 children are suspected to have some sort of issue with sensory integration In children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the incidence of having sensory processing issues is estimated to be at least 80% Sensory Issues can co-exist with other childhood diagnoses besides Autism

11 SENSORY SUBTYPES Over-Responsive Can modulate, but avoid, are fearful/anxious and hesitant Won t stay in line Too bright outside Fire and earthquake drills cause panic Hands over ears during loud songs/singing Avoid Fight or flight response is triggered from too much information coming in through their senses

12 SENSORY SUBTYPES Under-Responsive Ask for little but need more, decreased arousal, sometimes slow to attend, affect is restricted and are somewhat passive with action. Little Buddhas Crash into things, needs safety reminders Get into people s faces and spaces Like to spin, rock, etc. Excessively hugging, touching objects, seeking tactile stimulation

13 SENSORY SUBTYPES Sensory-Seeking Aroused, but have difficulty self-modulating attention and impulsivity regarding craving sensory input Craves spinning, running, jumping Mouths objects and clothing Always on the go Constantly fidgeting Interrupts others Appears impulsive

14 STRATEGIES FOR THE CLASSROOM FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL CHILDREN Classroom environment Consider the different types of sensory input both indoors and outdoors- visual, auditory, tactile, vestibular, propioceptive Consider physical space and materials- eliminate clutter, interest areas/activity centers Provide personal space Daily routines Have a clear, predictable schedule Give warning before transitions Use multi-sensory cues Balance activity times- active/quiet, sitting/moving

15 STRATEGIES FOR THE CLASSROOM FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL CHILDREN Curriculum and instruction Give simple, clear instructions Use developmentally appropriate practices Offer appropriate choices Be proactive Consider teacher-child proximity and tone of voice

16 SUMMARY Awareness of the sensory systems and how they work is a vital part of teaching the whole child. Screening for and identifying sensory problems is important in ensuring children are able to fully participate in school. Applying what is known about the senses when planning curriculum and interactions, preparing the learning environment, and developing routines can ensure a quality preschool experience for all children.

17 REFERENCES AND CONTACT INFO Kranowitz, C.S. (2006). The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder, Revised Edition Isbell, C. and Isbell, R. (2007). Sensory Integration: A Guide for Preschool Teachers Anzalone, M. (2010). Sensory Integration and Self- Regulation in Early Intervention and Preschool Contact info: Neighborhood House Association (858) Julia Childs Andrews ext Cindy S. Jones ext

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