Strategies for Helping your Child with Sensory Processing Issues be Successful in the Classroom
Children with sensory processing issues tend to have strong problems in the classroom that limit their ability to be successful. Luckily, there are strategies that have been researched and implemented in order to help your child be successful.
By following these tips, you may be able to make this school year much easier on your child, yourself, and your child’s new teacher.
8 Strategies for Helping your Child
1. Avoid clothing with lots of zippers, tags, buttons, or seams
All of these should be avoided when it comes to your child’s clothing, as they can all cause distractions and could be a difficult trigger for your child to deal with. The same goes for sequins or strange materials.
2. Discuss the issue ahead of time with your child’s new teacher
This will allow your child’s teacher time to prepare plans and ideas for helping your child be successful in the classroom. It is also a good idea to come up with a secret signal for your child to let their teacher know that they are struggling and may need a break.
3. Implement a consistent routine
Setting your child up for success at school actually begins at home. In order for your child to have a successful day, they must begin the day on a good note. This means that their morning routine should always be consistent.
Making sure your child wakes up at the same time each day, has a healthy breakfast, brushes their teeth, and washes their face could set the tone for the whole day. It’s important to do these things in a consistent order each day so that your child knows what to expect.
4. Have an IEP put in place
Students with childhood sensory processing issues will likely need accommodations that aren’t normally granted in schools. An IEP (or an Individualized Education Program) will allow your child to have special accommodations that help with their processing issue. If the school ever tells your child that they cannot accommodate, you will have the IEP documentation to show that your child must be granted these things.
5. Try to figure out your child’s triggers and make the teacher aware of them
If you know your child is triggered by a certain object, make sure the teacher knows about it as well. One example is the classroom pet; If you know that your child will have issues sitting near the fish tank or gerbil cage, make sure you let the teacher know so she can think about that when determining seating arrangements.
Other triggers to consider are windows where the child can see cars going by, sitting near close friends, certain sounds, or even bright colors. Choosing a seat close to the teacher so that no distractions are between your child and where his attention should be drawn is a great suggestion, as well.
6. Find a fidget that your child can use when they need to move their hands
Fidgets come in many forms, including pencil toppers, small balls that can be squeezed, or even just a piece of string that the child can move back and forth in their hands. Sometimes all that it takes to help a child with sensory processing issues is something to keep their mind and hands busy.
7. Send a water bottle with a straw and snacks that require a decent amount of chewing or crunching
Chewing can be calming for a child with childhood sensory processing issues, so providing snacks that involve quite a bit of chewing will help them calm down and regulate themselves. Bagels, apples, carrots, celery, or a granola bar are good options. Using a straw can have the same effect, so providing a water bottle with a straw will be beneficial to your child, as well.
8. Work with your teacher to figure out the best seating location for your child
While you may not be in the classroom all the time, you will still be able to offer helpful suggestions to your child’s teacher on the seating arrangement. Your child is comfortable with you, and will likely tell you when things are bothering them in the classroom, or what is distracting them near their seat. This helpful information could be passed on to your child’s teacher, allowing them the opportunity to notice these triggers and move your child to a different location in the classroom.
Final Thoughts On Strategies for Helping your Child be Successful in the Classroom
Childhood sensory processing issues can be so difficult for a child to deal with and for parents and teachers to handle. By following these tips, you can help set your child up for a great school year. Finding strategies for helping your child with sensory processing issues be successful in the classroom is one of the most important things you can do for your child.