Saturday, March 2, 2013

Make The Classroom Sensory-Friendly Today







I've always been highly affected by my surroundings.  I can't tell you how many times I've changed doctors, dentists, hotel rooms and even classrooms. It might not necessarily be a sensory-processing issue, but there is no doubt that I'll react either physically or emotionally if the room does not "feel good".

Therefore, I've been very aware of the children in my class who might also need a modification in the classroom space, materials, light, noise or smells. In fact, when I have students who begin to demonstrate inappropriate behavior, the first thing I do is change the child's immediate surroundings.  Often, that is all that needed in order to correct the misbehavior.

Below is a sample of strategies that can be used to make a classroom sensory-friendly. By making a classroom sensory-friendly, children who have sensory-processing issues can truly focus on the learning activities without distraction or discomfort. These strategies can be used hourly, daily, monthly or for the entire year. The purpose is to give teachers and parents ways to help keep children happy, engaged and learning in the inclusive class. 


Classroom Space
    big tables
    small tables
    groups of tables
    desks in groups
    desks in pairs
    individual workstations
    quiet area
    carpet area
    cozy reading space
    clutter control
    color coordination
    play areas with boundaries
    open windows
    temperature change


Classroom Materials
    bins for keeping materials organized
    centers with a variety of activities
    mini carpets to sit on at circle time/center time
    a variety of books to read at various reading levels
    fidgets
    visual timers
    visual planners
    bean bag chairs
    audio-visual materials


Lighting
    natural light
    lamps
    1 or 2 flourescent lights on
    light diffuser
    closed blinds


Noise
    quiet work time
    talking work time
    music playing in the background
    ticking clock
    "white noise" ie. circulating fan


Smells
    "no perfume" zone
    food kept in airtight containers
    no smelly markers/crayons
    fresh air flowing
    desks cleaned out regularly




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