Classroom Strategies for Sensory Support

April 2, 2019
In recognition of Autism Awareness month, we are sharing tips for educators.


For children whoSupporting a child's sensory needs experience sensory issues, some of whom may or may not be officially diagnosed with Autism Spectrum or Sensory Processing disorders, the school day can be a genuine challenge. Offering students outlets and ways to take a break can make all the difference.

Sensory tools in the classroom

Occupational Therapist Rachael Chiulli helps Max with a body sock, a sensory item providing resistance and compression that is grounding to the body. It also blocks visual stimuli, aiding in reduced feelings of being overwhelmed.

Green Chimneys’ occupational therapists and student support specialists have been busy creating new ways to help students soothe or redirect themselves during or in between classes. Take a walk through our elementary school on any given day and you may see a student or two on a “sensory walk.” The floors of the hallways are decorated with follow-along patterns; students can walk along a winding path to get from one area of the school to the next, or frog jump from one stationary circle to the next. For energetic elementary-aged students, this can be an extremely calming and grounding activity because it requires them to focus both mind and body on a fun and enjoyable task.

Classrooms are also equipped with sensory tools so students don’t have to leave class when a break is needed, or to access something that helps them feel “just right.” Data collected from the on-campus “Sensory Space” has shown which items are most popular with students. Noise canceling headphones and Yogibo beanbag chairs were some of the most frequently requested items and now each classroom—and dorm—has its own Yogibo beanbag chair, and other tactile comforts.

Learn more about Green Chimneys School