Practical Tips for the Classroom

Calming strategies for students who are over or hypersensitive and displaying ‘fight, fright, or flight’ behaviour.

  • Always prepare the student, using visuals can help make the student feel more secure about what is going to happen now and next
  • Sitting or lying under a heavy blanket
  • Student using hands to press down on their head
  • Student sitting on floor, bending knees to chest, wrapping arms around knees and squeezing
  • Deep pressure massage
  • Giving themselves a hug
  • Squeezing a fidget toy or firm water bottle
  • Squeezing and relaxing face or hands
  • Retreating to a calm area when needed or at regular set intervals
  • Sucking a sweet or drinking out of a water bottle
  • Perform a heavy lifting task e.g. carrying books
  • Press ups or chair press ups
  • Student carrying a heavy back pack between classes
  • Regular swimming or sport activity

Alerting strategies for students who are under or hyposensitive and displaying either sensory seeking behaviour or lethargic, disengaged behaviour.

  • Always prepare the student, using visuals can help make the student feel more secure about what is going to happen now and next
  • Active, energising movements for a short period e.g. jogging on spot, jumping, jumping jacks; having short activity or movement breaks is a good idea to keep a lot of students alert and focussed
  • Drinking a cold drink
  • Clapping hands or singing
  • Having routine movement breaks before periods of concentration
  • Giving student extra opportunities for movement during class e.g. giving out books?
  • Incorporating movement within lessons
  • Changing light in classroom or using different colours of text
  • Listening to music during periods of individual study

More specific strategies are available by selecting the appropriate sense from the sensory strategies menu.

 

Sensory Audit for School and Classrooms

It may be useful to assess the suitability of your classroom in meeting the diverse sensory needs of pupils with autism.  Small changes to the environment can significantly contribute to improving sensory regulation.  Click here for a template to audit your classroom environment.