When it comes to using sensory aids in school, each school seems to have a different policy. However, when it comes to wearing glasses, hearing aids or using coloured overlays there doesn’t seem to be such a problem.
Wait a minute!!
Glasses, Hearing Aids and Coloured Overlays are all sensory aids. So why will my school not allow sensory aids & what can I do about it?
We have the answers!
The reasonable adjustments duty is owed to disabled pupils, as defined in the Equality Act 2010. The Act says that a pupil has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Physical or mental impairment includes sensory impairments such as those affecting sight or hearing.
If a child has a visual impairment reasonable adjustments, aids and adaptations are put into place to enable the student to access their learning. Some of the things that might happen for children with visual impairments are:
- wearing glasses
- sitting at the front of the class
- the teacher uses verbal feedback and names for all pupils to include the student
- giving visual descriptions when writing on the board for example
- large print
- magnified screens
- talking calculators
- coloured overlays
- addressing the lighting in the classroom
- avoiding glare
- giving extra time to complete work
Just like children with visual impairments, children with a hearing impairments are also given reasonable adjustments, aids and adaptations to enable students to access their learning. Some of the things that might happen for children with hearing impairments are:
- Hearing Aids
- Acoustic adaptations
- Sitting near the teacher
- Keeping background noise down
- Visual Aids
- Writing on the board as well as speaking
- Ensure that the teachers face is always visible
- Teaching in small groups
What About Other Sensory Differences?
Reasonable adjustments, aids and adaptations are easy ways to enable children to access learning without them being at a disadvantage to other students.
Children who struggle with their sensory systems need to be able to regulate themselves by using sensory aids or taking sensory breaks. If a child is craving pressure or chewing they need more proprioceptive input. Redirecting them to a suitable sensory aid like a Chewigem can help them get the input they need and enable them to access their learning. If a child can’t sit still then sensory breaks are a great way to get them moving and regulating their vestibular system. Fidget toys and Balance Cushion are also really good tools for this … especially at carpet time!
So Why Do Some Schools Not Allow Sensory Aids?
This is what they think:
- They are a distraction
- Other children will want them
- They will encourage unwanted behaviours
- They’re are not part of the school uniform
- They are dangerous
What Sensory Aids can actually do:
- Increases concentration & Focus
- Relieve anxiety
- Help calm & self regulate
- Reduce excess movement
- Reduce self-harm & harm to others
What Can I Do?
- Make an appointment to speak to the class teacher and the Senco
- Take notes to back yourself up
- Explain your child’s sensory needs and what you think will help them and why
- If your child has an EHCP ask for the use of sensory aids to be written into it
- Go armed with information from this blog and a link to Reasonable Adjustments for Disabled Pupils Guidance for Schools in England
- Stand your ground, your child is entitled to an education
Here at Chewigem, we are happy to speak to schools and teachers, so please feel free to put them in touch with us via Facebook Messenger, Email or Telephone.
We also have this handy downloadable that can be printed off and taken into schools.
Sensory aids are very important to enable children with sensory difficulties to access their education.
They wouldn’t stop a child from using their glasses …
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