All things sensory!

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by teacher12345, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. teacher12345

    teacher12345 Cohort

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    Aug 11, 2010

    This is a place for everyone to describe their students sensory needs and what they do to fulfill those needs. It is also a place for people to describe the different sensory opportunities throughout their classroom. You can describe sensory rooms, calm down areas, fidgets, your system for sensory breaks etc.
     
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  3. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Aug 11, 2010

    THANKS!! I'll be watching this closely. I want to set up a calm down area (still looking for a great name) in my room and need tons of ideas that are free or as close to it as possible. Right now I have a few squishy balls and some teenie beanie babies.
     
  4. teacher12345

    teacher12345 Cohort

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    Aug 11, 2010

    Can you sew? If you can sew you could sew big oversized floor pillows, make sure they have a cover on them (zipper) so that they can be washed.

    Do you have a rocking chair? Freecycle is a good source for sensory items as well. Also I think there maybe a thread about sensory rooms back from a long long time ago LOL.

    Keep your eye out at the dollar section in target, dollar stores, clearance racks, and Party City (they have like 25 cent small toys that work for fidgets).

    some small inexpensive sensory tools:

    Mini Spectra light globe (visual)
    little mini lava lamp night light (visual)

    massagers/toys that vibrate (tactile)
    silly putty/theraputty (tactile)
    moldable erasers (reminds me of clay) (tactile)
    floam (I have seen small little containers of this at the dollar store.)
    Slime/flubber (tactile)
    Play Doh (tactile)
    IPOD/MP3/ or walkman with calming/alerting music with headphones depending on the students sensory needs (sound)
    slinky/mini slinky (tactile/fidget)
    tangles (tactile/fidget)
    pop tubes (fidget/sound)
    bubble wrap (tactile/sound)
    A bin with different pieces of textured fabric (tactile)
    little toys from kids meals that talk (sound)
    small containers of rice, beans, sand, noodles (tactile)
     
  5. mom2mikey

    mom2mikey Cohort

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    Aug 12, 2010

    Here is what I can think of off the top of my head. I have an interesting mix in my class as I have students who need to access the curriculum through sensory channels and need a lot of sensory stimulation and then others whom we need to eliminate all the crazy sensory input for. Its always an intersting balance as they are two ends of a sensory spectrum :).

    As much as possilbe I try to incorporate different sensory channels when doing group lessons. I try to include real objects or something to touch, sound (obviously us talking but also sounds that are relevant to the lesson or else some kind of music/chant), visuals (for obvious reasons), movement (even if its just acting out something short), and smell/taste by doing weekly cooking.

    Anyway... here are other things that we do:

    Large Motor/Whole Body
    - mini-trampoline
    - swing
    - big balls and peanuts
    - ball bath
    - wiggle/balance board
    - large blow up jumping mattress (we store in gym)
    - two students on a daily running program (one of them is an AMAZING runner)
    - heavy lifting classroom and school jobs
    - weighted vests and lap blankets
    - wiggle seats

    Tactile Input
    - sensory bins (usually have 2 or 3 on the go)
    - Messy Monday once a month where we do messy sensory (pudding painting, feet in cooked noodles, paper mache...etc.)
    - bins with a variety of fidgets (used regularly for sensory breaks for some of our kiddos)
    - playdough
    - floam
    - frequent activities that incorporate a tactile component (example: when working with news-2-you I try to make sure we have some of the items from the article to feel and touch)

    Music and Sound
    - activities that incorporate relevant sounds into our curriculum
    - many of the students have individual iPods that they mostly use for calming or for distraction while doing things like range of motion exercises
    - sound Bingo games

    Sight and Light
    - different kinds of lights attached to switches
    - Snoezelen space lights (I wish I had the names for all of them off the top of my head)
    - fish tube in Snoezelen room
    - black lights in Snoezelen room (we even do acedemics with some students with these as I have letters and shapes made out of florescent paper)
    - spinning projector with a variety of theme plates in Snoezelen room
    - visual tracking games on the computer
    - visual tracking activities
    - light box activities
    - CCTV (basically a machine that magnifies anything for the student) used for a couple of my students

    Smell and Taste
    - we have a couple of match the smell games where you have little smelly jars and pictures of what the smells are
    - weekly cooking - try to do a variety of smells and tastes

    I also just recently got the "Sensory Diet Game" (http://www.superduperinc.com/products/view.aspx?pid=GB340) and extra cards that go with it. I am looking to ensure that several of my students are able to gage their own levels of "just right" feelings and take a bit more control over their own sensory diet. Right now many of them have sensory diets that are pretty controlled by us as they have an outline of the times of day and the types of activities that they are to do that was put together by myself and the OT that comes in to our room. They are getting older now and I want them to get more of a feel for when they need sensory breaks as well as finding different activities that work for them for sensory breaks. To that end I got this game as a bit of a starting point. I also have some of the materials from "Your Therapy Source" (http://www.yourtherapysource.com/sensorymotordownloads.html) as they give quick and easy ideas for short sensory breaks (most suited better for our ambulatory kids more so then the ones in chairs).

    I am a big believer in maintaining sensory regulation and containing "stim behaviours" to sensory break times and over time shaping sensory breaks to things that are transportable or that can be made in to part of the student's daily life. For example, one of my older students who used to do different parts to a gross motor sensory diet is now working on a running program at school as well as weight lifting and swimming in his after school program. Another one of my older studnets now delivers flyers in our neighborhood twice a week (heavy lifting and movement fit together). We also run a classroom business where we make and sell dog biscuits. This activity allows students some of the tactile input as it is almost like playing playdough but in a more functional way. When the students are younger we do a lot of specifically sensory things but as they get older we try to move it to more functional, adaptive or practical.
     
  6. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Aug 12, 2010

    I'm almost embarassed to post after M2Ms massively impressive list of sensory items... haha.

    But, I'll go for it anyway. :)

    All of my students have ball chairs from Flaghouse. They have the option to sit on this chair or a regular chair. They all pick the ball chairs. If they become distracting or a source of non-compliance (i.e. bouncing up and down repeatedly during a lesson after being asked to stop) - they have to switch to a regular chair until the next period, when they get another chance. They really are great - they've helped with posture, and they give the kids a chance to wriggle around. I do let them bounce during non-instructional time or during independent work time, but I can't handle it when they're all bouncing up and down as I'm giving a lesson. :)

    We have a "calm down corner" which is actually a section of the room that was meant for a refrigerator?? So, if you can imagine, it's a space that's quite small, but the kids love it. I put a gym mat on the surrounding walls, and there's the fourth flap of the mat on the opening, and they can shut themselves in there. We also use this as a safe space if a kid is out of control (not injuring self but injuring others).

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, I also have a therapy ball in there that they can sit on. Sometimes they like it just empty. I have a few kids who just like "alone time" and will go in and shut the door just to talk to themselves for a bit.

    I also have a dizzy disc (sensory edge) which the kids LOVE. I did a lot of PECS training on that dizzy disc to work on "faster" "slower" "more" etc. Great training tool!

    We have 374837847343 fidget toys (dollar tree stuff, target, etc.) I have quite a few dog toys (sorry!!!) but they are so great for squeaking, squeezing, etc. and the kids get a kick out of them. They're all pretty discrete (like balls, sensory looking things, not like squeaky bones... haha) I have one that lights up - the kids love that one! (What dog needs a light up toy!?)

    We also do "Clean Mud" about once a week. http://www.theideabox.com/Clean_Mud.html A really fun thing. Especially good if your classroom is smelling a little stinky!!! Fixes that right up. The kids love this one.

    I have bubble wrap accessible at all times (great frustration breaker!) I have one kid who will get real mad and we taught the FCT skill of requesting bubble wrap... works like a charm!!!

    We have a trampoline - kids love this. It's in our sensory area that is also covered in mats, in the case of stray jumps and bumps....

    I covered the one open wall with mirrors and shelf liner paper (it's bumpy??) and some of the low key kids like sitting there, looking in the mirrors (also have a push-on light or two) - and then feeling the bumpy shelf liner.

    That's all I can think of for now... being an autism classroom I'm sure we have tons more stuff but those are the major ones off of the top of my head.
     
  7. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Aug 12, 2010

    Thanks for the tips! I'll keep thinking of ways to pull it together. As I am not self-contained, I need to keep it small and as unobtrusive as possible. I have a desk that is a study carrell that I plan on using for this purpose. I want a time out place w/o the negative connotation of 'time out'. I work with mild to moderate needs and they switch in and out as my grade level is completely departmentalized.

    I thought about bubble wrap, b/c I love to pop the bubbles, it's oddly satisfying (or maybe not so oddly? LOL) but I was afraid the noise would distract the other students while working. I don't have a separate room, and I don't want to turn the desk so I can't see the student. Great ideas! Your students are so fortunate to have you as teachers!
     
  8. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Aug 12, 2010

    We call it recovery.
     
  9. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    I like recovery, WFL!
     
  10. TimberBlue

    TimberBlue Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2010

    Wow, great thread. I'm more on the mild/moderate side of things right now, but many of the students benefit from sensory methods/tools. A stress ball for the hand while working helps them focus, yes, but I also wanted to second the use of an iPod. My mentoring teacher in a high school resource room allowed her students to use their iPod, regardless of the music they listened to. The rule was that one ear thing had to be left out of their ears, and the music had to be low enough that no one else could hear it. There's recent research that supports this as an accommodation for students. Many students can't afford iPods, and I was also concerned about how allowing this might carry over into their general ed. classes, so for my middle school resource room, I played very soft classical music. Believe it or not, my students started requesting it every day, especially during tests that they would take in my classroom. My students with Autism and ADHD tended to request the music more than everyone else.
     
  11. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Aug 13, 2010

    I can def play music in the room softly. I've done it before so I have some classical CDs. My master's program was based upon Gardner's multipl intelligences, so I used it then frequently.

    I can put in some different textures with fabrics & the rubber shelf liner. If you use fabrics for texture, do you hem a scrap, wrap a piece of cardboard, frame it without glass, leave it with raw edge to get stringy, etc? Just trying to figure out issues that might arise. I'm thinking small picture frames without glass would be good to stroke & could be taken to a seat if more than one kid needed calming at a time.
     

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