Although it is quite common to assume we have 5 senses, we actually have 8! As well as touch, smell, taste, hearing and sight we also have vestibular, proprioception and interoception. In order to support children with these 8 senses we need to allow them to take part in different activities to help them to regulate, this process is called sensory integration.
When different parts of our body receive sensory information from our environment, it sends this information to our brain. Some of us struggle to process this information and we need some extra support through sensory integration. If a pupil seems quite unsettled and displays different challenging behaviours, this could be because they need to take part in different sensory activities to help them feel more grounded.
Here at Wood Bank, we have a range of equipment to support our pupils with their sensory needs to ensure they are grounded, focused and ready to learn. Some of our classes have sensory equipment in permanently so it is easily accessible if pupils require it frequently. Classes also have access to the sensory circuit in the hall to allow them the time to regulate.
A sensory circuit is a series of exercises that a child works through in a specific structured order. It is intended to focus concentration to prepare the child for learning. The circuit may be specifically tailored to an individual child if it is felt they need more stimulation in a certain area.
There are 3 types of exercise which are clearly defined in zones. Children spend around 3-4 minutes in each area before moving on to next area.
Zone 1) Alerting
- To wake up the body and the senses.
Zone 2) Organising
- Requires the child to organise their body, plan their actions and do more than one thing at a time.
Zone 3) Calming
- Provides sensory input to the body to calm and ground the child.