The thought of your child starting school with sensory difficulties can be daunting. Here are 5 tips on approaching school about sensory difficulties that can ease your mind!
1 in 20 people suffers from sensory processing difficulties. For 1 in 6 of those, it will affect their daily life. Sensory difficulties and differences can affect behaviour and therefore it is important to understand sensory differences within the school environment. With the right help and support and some reasonable adjustments, these children will be better able to access their learning.
Make a list of your child’s sensory difficulties. Look at the 8 senses to give you a starting point. Here are some examples.
- Sight – are they sensitive to light?
- Sound – are they sensitive to loud noise?
- Smell – do certain smells cause issues?
- Taste – do they have a restricted diet?
- Touch – do they avoid touch?
- Balance – do they struggle with balance?
- Proprioception – do they chew?
- Interoception – can they regulate their body temperature?
These are just some examples but your child’s sensory sensitivities may be different.
Now make a list of the environments which make your child sensory difficulties worse. You can use your previous list of the senses that are affected to help here.
Here are some examples
- Rooms with strip lights or brightly coloured walls
- Busy shopping areas
- People wearing perfume
- Cafe’s and restaurants
- Crowded places
- Soft Play
Again these are just examples but once you’ve got your own list you’re starting to compile evidence to provide to the school.
Looking at your previous list try to think of the issues that your child may have in school and make another list.
Check out my example below based on the above example.
- Brightly coloured classrooms with strip lighting
- Break & Lunch Times
- Group Work
Sensory Adaptations & Strategies
Now we want to highlight all of the things we have put in place to help our children with their sensory difficulties.
Here’s another example.
- Ear Defenders
- Specific Packed Lunch/Food
- Quiet Spaces
- Fidget Toys
- Visual Timetables & Reminders
You will be able to go into more depth about how and why these work when you set up a meeting. Note down anything that supports why these strategies work. If your child is willing, ask them why they think these things help and write down their quotes.
and finally …
Book A Meeting
You may be wondering why booking a meeting is the final step? The answer is that unfortunately, not all schools understand sensory differences. It is best to go prepared to the meeting and be able to show them exactly how your child struggles with sensory difficulties and ways that have proven to help.
Take all of the above information and anything else you think will support you at the meeting.
If you need any help or support you can join our Sensory Support Group on Facebook.
It is very important to get the correct helo and support for our children in school. If you need any extra help please speak to the school Senco. If you need to apply for an EHCP you can do this through your local council. There is also a service called Sendiass that offers help and support for children with special educational needs.
We hope that these 5 tips on approaching school about sensory difficulties has been helpful. If you need more support why not join our free Sensory Support Group!