Our senses provide us with a means of interacting with our environment as well as allowing us to develop understanding and respond to the environment around us. Many individuals, particularly those but not all, who have a diagnosis of Autism, experience difficulties in processing and interpreting sensory inputs. For children with a diagnosis of Autism or those who struggle with sensory processing difficulties, it can result in unusual or uncomfortable perceptions of sound, sense, touch, sight and smell.
This means that some children may be unable to focus upon planned teaching activities as their sensory issues cause great discomfort or stimulation. This can have a profound effect upon their ability to access learning activities and in some cases can result in challenging behaviour. At PCA we feel that it is essential for us to consider these difficulties, and make it a priority to access children’s sensory needs and provide a personalised sensory diet where needed, which can be implemented to support learning. By doing this we feel that addressing sensory issues should also result in increased engagement with the curriculum and therefore enhance learning experiences as well as non- school activities.
PCA has a dedicated sensory and soft playroom for children to use but in keeping with our belief that children should have access to the appropriate sensory input across the whole school day, all areas of the school are used to provide our children with the sensory input they need. Class teachers ensure that sensory activities are available within individual classrooms and outdoor areas and we also see the benefits from the use of individual sensory equipment such as weighed blankets, chew necklaces and toys, Zooma rocking chairs, therabands, vibrating cushions and sensory fiddle/ calming toys and a variety of climbing equipment.