Presentor: Dino Mennillo: Occupational Therapy for Children
On the 10th of August I attended a sensory needs training session with a colleague, as we have a few students in our classes who require sensory stimulation and output.
Here are some of the notes taken and areas that I will be implementing in my teaching practice.
What is it, how do we recognise it?
- Sensory integration therapy, can we offer this in the classroom? Yes. How?
- Restless students, movement and fidgeting.
Sensory preferences: There are different types of sensory needs in students.
1. Under sensitive: these are the students who love sand, messy play, seeks lots of movement.
2. Over sensitive: avoids noisy, messy play activities, doesn’t like to be touched.
3. Tactile: Deeper firmer touch is more tolerable, use putty, shaving cream, beans
There was a huge focus on this point and I was pleased to hear it.
- It is the parent’s job to get the foundations right. Your child’s body learns when they fall, we need to let them fall, play, climb etc. We are seeing too many children who are not being given the opportunity to play, take risks, climb trees etc. So their bodies are not learning movements and developing the core strength, coordination and balance they need. Get your children involved in sports, playing games outdoors, give them time to play and move.
- Parent Questions: What time does your child go to sleep at night? Sleep patterns, ask the basic questions. Screen time before bed? Activities before bed? Limit screen time before bed and first thing in the morning. It is recommended that school age children from Reception to Year 7 get 12 hours of sleep per night. This should be brought up at Parent information evenings.
Classroom Strategies to Implement:
- Provide regular movement breaks. Get this happening before they get restless, short spouts of movement. Get up walk to drink taps, do a small lap of the yard, 5 star jumps on the spot. Get them moving, it will help with their concentration and physical need for movement. I have been implementing brain breaks in my class with students and have noticed improvements in focus, concentration levels and quality of work.
- Bum bags for fidget toys. This strategy allows the sensory need to be fulfilled but does not distract the student from the learning. Keep the sensory toy in the bum bag, if it comes out of the bum bag it gets taken away.
Sensory Diet: The Key to Sensory Success
- Intensity (when they have the physical activity make sure it is intense so that it last for the period of time to aid focus),
- Duration (Short breaks for 2-5 minutes),
- Frequency (Have the breaks every 15-20 minutes). Get the pattern for sensory breaks right.
Discussions and Questions at the end:
- Handwriting and Pencil grip. This can’t change after age of 5 years old. You can try but unlikely to change it. When writing your left hand is the helper, one side of the brain switches off. 2 minutes a day colouring in on a vertical surface will improve handwriting/ pencil grip.
- Develop typing skills instead. To be typing both sides of the brain need to be working.
Certificate of Attendance Dino Mennillo: Occupational Therapy for Children
This was a useful session and I was able to use some of the information and strategies shared within my current school context.