In this 2022 article; “Muting, filtering and transforming space: Autistic children’s sensory ‘tactics’ for navigating mainstream school space following the transition to secondary school.”, the take-home messages are:
There are sensory challenges in mainstream school environments for ASD children.
Working with young people post-transition to secondary school has highlighted these challenges.
Sensory challenges exist across the school environment: Classrooms, lunch halls, playgrounds and even corridors can feel overwhelming.
Muting, filtering and transforming space ‘tactics’ are ways that young people deal with feelings of sensory overload.
Teachers, parents and therapists can use this understanding of these sensory tactics to support the design of more inclusive school spaces.
Many Occupational Therapists using a sensory integration approach in their clinical practice have worked productively and mindfully with children, adults and older adults with trauma. Our unique education and training facilitates our practice in a range of settings- schools, mental health settings and hospitals, where as a profession we are tasked to address barriers to participation in everyday life.
Occupational Therapists are uniquely placed to be able to offer not only cognitive behavioural and occupation based activities.
Neuroscience now provides us with the evidence to support our practice of Ayres’ Sensory Integration with our clients with trauma – confirming our understanding about how trauma impacts early and ongoing sensory and motor development, underlying physiology and levels of arousal and attention.
Now and into the future, we will need to further consider the evidence for how inter-generational trauma manifests in underlying neurobiological processes that underpin function – the sensory, motor and cognitive building blocks of participation in everyday life.
Supporting development is everyone’s business. If you are a therapist practicing Ayres’ Sensory Integration, parent education and support between sessions with sensory rich activities to support development through ploy is likely to be a part of what you do. The resource includes downloadable printable activities guides for different ages, that will make great handouts for parents and teachers. Another great resource from Harvard..
Parents bringing their children to therapy are dedicated – no matter who is funding the therapy. A weekly commitment to therapy sessions while juggling family life will test even the most organised Mum or Dad’s diary and working day. Fun easy to do activities that can support therapy and provide ideas for what to do when the ideas run out are a bonus.
These activities in this resource from Harvard are just so much more. Research has shown that this collection includes age-appropriate activities and games that adults can use to support and strengthen executive function and self-regulation skills in children.
Sensory University offers discounted pricing on school supplies, special needs toys and equipment’s for autism. See and read more at sensoryuniversity.com/
We love the look of this great product for use at school…
Desk Buddy- a Multi Textured Tactile Chewable Ruler
This product may be a useful sensory strategy to help a child who constantly fidgets.
Their website describes how it was developed by a team of Occupational Therapist, School Teachers, and product engineers who combined efforts to create this product for use both at home and in the classroom.
“For children who are constantly looking for different textures to touch or “fidget” with, the Desk Buddy® is both practical and socially acceptable in a school setting. It is simply a ruler sitting on their desk. The desk buddy is constructed from an FDA approved material so its even safe to chew on if the need were to arise. Completely dishwasher safe, and naturally bacteria resistant. “Every Child Needs a Desk Buddy® Colors shipped at random. Special request will be honored if possible.
BP, latex and Phthalate free material, coloring, and flavor. FDA approved materials and dishwasher safe.”
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