Do you have any kids who have shirts that are soaked at the collar or sleeve because they are chewing on them? (I am raising both hands and possibly my legs) Did you know that this type of behavior could be a sensory need?
At least 1 in 20 people in the general population could be impacted by a sensory disorder. This can manifest in a many ways. These children may demonstrate hyperactivity, constant movement, touch others to often or to hard, and enjoy sounds that are loud or hate loud sounds, They may also have difficulty with motor movements such as imitation or balance and enjoy sedentary activities. These children could become easily frustrated, prefer fantasy games over real life, be considered the "class clown" or avoid new group activities.
So, what can you do about this? Well as educators we can provide simple accommodations that will benefit every student in your classroom and fit into a sensory diet.
|move & sit cushion|
For those kids I was taking about earlier that chew.... bubble gum is one of my best friends. My son, A, started chewing gum in first grade and it has made a huge difference. He doesn't come home with holes in his shirts and he is more focused on his work. As stress increases at school (closer to SOL time) he starts chewing more and more gum. If you are not ready to make the leap into trying gum, you can also try other edibles such as pretzel rods or licorice. You can also try chewable pencil toppers and chewlery. Chewlery is jewelry that is made to look like pendents or dog tags that kids can chew on safely.
This is just the tip of the iceberg! There is a lot of research and information out there about sensory needs and lots of ideas on how you can address yours students' needs in your classroom. Below are some links to different blog posts and websites that you may find useful.
Learning Ahoy!: Sensory Ideas Pinterest board
Learning Ahoy!: Sensory Sight Words
Lemon Lime Adventures: What is Sensory Processing?
Teach. Love. Autism: Sensory Room
The Autism Adventures of Room 83
The Lower Elementary Cottage