Creating a sensory-friendly classroom environment does not need to be time-consuming or budget-busting. Today we are sharing 5 tips that can help you turn your classroom into a sensory-friendly classroom for all children.
The average student can attend for 10-15 minutes at a time before needing a break. A brain break can be as simple as standing up and doing some stretches, having a 30-second dance party, or even just switching to a different location or station.
Setting up sensory-motor walk in your school hallway can be used during transitions in the hallway or before returning to class from lunch/recess.
Remember with all brain breaks to end with a calming type activity to achieve that just-right level of arousal and balance before asking a child to sit down again.
If you aren't sure where to start with alternative seating, our therapy friends at The Inspired Treehouse have a great post on alternative seating in the classroom.
You can include wiggle seats, exercise ball, t-seats, ways to stand/kneel, or a rocking chair or bean bag chair in your sensory space.
Florescent lights are not only very bright and unnatural, but they can also cause a “buzzing” noise that may be distracting to children who are hypersensitive to auditory input. Finding some alternative lighting solutions can be a great way to create a sensory-friendly environment in your classroom.
Use Christmas lights if allowed, turn off overhead light or cover lights with heat-safe cover. Replace overhead lights with lamps. Double-check with your school for any safety protocols with the use of extension cords or covering the overhead lights.
Set up sensory corner or space
A sensory space does not need to be elaborate.
Include a rocking chair or bean bag chair, a calming bottle, breathing exercise cards, posters of breathing tips, books, paper, crayons, simple/quiet brain break activities.
Sharla set up a sensory space in one of her closets at home. While it isn't a classroom, she shares a lot of great ideas that can be adapted for a classroom.
Minimize class decorations/visual input
- Be strategic in your visual prompts and decorations.
- Use visual schedules for common routines
- Visual timers for transitions between activities and environments