Sensory Processing in Learning

Learning is a key occupation for children and young people

Sensory processing difficulties can present differently at home and school, and every child with poor sensory processing presents with a different set of difficulties.  Educators often refer to reading, writing and arithmetic as the ‘basics’ but actually these are extremely complex processes that can only develop on a strong foundation of sensory integration. Whilst sensory processing issues are not a learning disorder or official diagnosis, they can make it hard for children to succeed at school.  Some common behaviours include:

  • Difficulties sitting still in lessons and disrupting the class
  • Difficulties maintaining attention in lessons
  • Difficulties sitting on a chair for any length of time and tending to slump or slide off the chair
  • Frequently bumping into things and/or tripping over
  • Difficulties when engaging in sports or PE lessons
  • Difficulties with handwriting
  • Meltdowns during assemblies or sports lessons

Some key strategies that can help include:

  • Building sensory ‘brain breaks’ into the school day
  • Establishing clear expectations with start and end times for tasks
  • Using visual schedules, directions, class rules and clear expectations
  • Have a daily routine that changes as little as possible and giving advance warning of any changes to this routine.

For further information and advice on specific areas, please click on the links below: