"How To Set Up A Special Education Program"- Sensory Diets in the Classroom

Sensory diets are a tool used and designed to meet a child individual sensory needs.   If you have your students sensory needs in balance- behaviors will be much better managed.  Sensory diets are a simple planned sensory routine that is embedded within their normal routine.  

         To start, look at your daily schedule and consider charting your students behaviors.  You can consider this as a group or on an individual basis. It is best to start with your class as a whole, then break it down further into individual needs after.  Find those targeted times where your students are restless and out of hand.  Consider adding a whole class walk to the swings or a run around the field.  It is important to find a balance between sensory input and academic demands.
         More importantly,  it's very important to look at sensory diets on an individual basis.  Chart behaviors and look to find patterns.  What are the challenging times for the student?  When are the students having difficulty focusing?  Difficulty sitting?  Look and see if you can find consistent times or consistent activities that produce certain behaviors for each student.  From here you can start to implement different strategies.

If the student is over stimulated and having trouble focusing consider some of these CALMING strategies:
       deep pressure
       dimming lights
       weighted vest
       spin (computer chairs are GREAT for this)
       rocking in a chair
       bounce on yoga ball
       fidget toys

If the student is under-stimulated and acting lethargic consider some of these ALERTING strategies:
       bright lighting
       drink ice water
       chew gum

       increase movement opportunities 

Tomorrow I will discuss my sensory corner and my favorite: sensory transitions!!!

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