What NEVER to Use for Sensory Support in the Classroom

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Your child has sensory needs.  I can say that with confidence because all children, no forget that, ALL PEOPLE have sensory needs! Sensory supports still seem to boggle the minds of many teachers and even some therapists, especially when it comes to supporting a child in the classroom or within their normal routines. So before I start telling everyone what my favorite supports are for the classroom, let's talk about what you should NEVER put into the classroom. You should never put any sensory support in place that takes over the child's ability to learn. Did you just think, DUH, Catherine! I know that! Um, great, you know it, but do you know how many times I've seen sensory supports used as babysitters?  Too many! Your child using sensory supports in the classroom should be as natural as you chewing gum and walking at the same time.  You don't have to think about chewing gum.  It just happens and for some people it actually helps their concentration.  For most people, even if it's not helping, it's not hurting. Side note... I hate chewing gum and I hate hearing other people chew gum...my sensory system goes on OVERLOAD! Ok, so here's the scoop. If you are working on sensory supports for your child in the classroom and your child's teacher is amazed at how "good" your child is being since adding in some new supports, make sure you understand what "good" is. "Good" may mean that your child is now distracted enough that she can teach the other students and your child may or may not be involved. "Good" should mean that your child's sensory needs are being met and now your child is engaging in the desired task.  In fact, a good judge of a sensory support working is looking at how much time your child is staying on task vs off task or how much work your child is producing now vs before. Here are a few of my favorite classroom supports that have worked for many and may work for your kiddo too....
  1. Velcro taped under the desk or inside folder to run fingers over with no noise or distraction to others. I had rolls of this kind of velcro EVERYWHERE when I was in the classroom.
  2. Pencil Fidgets that spin & bump... I'm going to be recommending these ALL the time.  I just found them!
  3. Wobble Seat - I know several kids that love to carry this seat to seat and it helps keep them from jumping out of their seat.
Do you have favorite sensory supports for your kiddo?  I'd love to hear about them! With Hope & Determination, Catherine Whitcher, M.Ed P.S.  Enrollment in the Special Needs Education Help Center for Parents is now OPEN! Come join us! New Year's Eve

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