Helping Your Child’s Teacher Create a Sensory Space

Did you know that research from the Centers for Disease Control revealed that 1 in 44 children are affected by autism in the US? This means that there are a large number of children with developmental conditions facing challenges that impact not only their perception of the world, but also affect how they learn, think, and problem-solve as well. Because of this, more and more students with special needs are entering school systems nationwide, and teachers are now designing their classrooms to accommodate students that have those special needs. 

ABA Therapy

One of the biggest challenges children on the spectrum face is sensory issues.

Processing sensory information can be very difficult for children with autism. For example, a child may become startled or perceive the sensation of pain when touched. Another example of a sensory challenge might be hearing the sound of the vacuum cleaner going or the sound of the toilet flushing. In a nutshell, sensory challenges in children with autism are issues that affect the five senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound.

Sensory-related challenges in children need to be handled in an individualized manner. As the parent of an autistic child, especially around school age, you can help your child by helping their teachers. This may require a private conversation between you and the teacher explaining certain behaviors and what your child does and doesn’t respond to. It will also be helpful to have a behavior plan in place in case your child gets sensory overload.

Of course, your child may not be the only child on the spectrum in class, but working together with their teacher to help create a sensory space may do more than just help your child; it may help other children as well. Take a look at a few of the different ways you can help your child’s teacher create a sensory space inside the classroom.

***As with any classroom activity, teachers need to be sure to set boundaries of how and when the sensory space is used***

Create a Sensory Board or Wall

This doesn’t necessarily have to be an entire wall. Many teachers actually use drywall or smooth wood boards and attach items like knobs and switches, textured tiles, fringes, and more. There are a multitude of things that can be added to a sensory wall. For example, maybe your spouse specializes in woodwork and can create a sensory board filled with items your child is used to seeing but also new items that other children may enjoy as well. By working with your child’s teachers, you can help foster an environment of success that extends beyond their home environment.

Quiet Music

If the ‘quiet game’ has worked for you in the past, playing quiet music will not only calm overstimulated children on the spectrum, it will also calm neurotypical children as well. Plus, being a teacher is a labor of love, and the calming music may help teachers as well. If you have any CDs or music players to help with that, you can donate them to your child’s classroom.

Incorporate Movement

Everything from mini trampolines and rocking chairs to simply bouncing on medicine balls, incorporating some form of movement will help your child self-regulate, eliminate stress, and provide a good amount of sensory stimulation.

Sensory-Friendly Spaces

The first step in helping your child with sensory-related issues is to first get him/her enrolled in ABA Therapy. There are a multitude of different resources to help you get your child proper treatment, which also includes sensory activities and spaces. Check for local Autism Therapy Centers near you to help your child reach their brightest future, which can then extend to their classrooms. By helping teachers provide the same type of sensory space for your child at school, it will help them reach success in their daily interactions and communication outside the classroom as well.

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