Sensory-Friendly Back-to-School: Adapting the Environment for Special Needs Students.

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A sensory-friendly classroom benefits a wide range of students, particularly those who experience sensory sensitivities or sensory processing challenges. These challenges can be associated with various conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sensory processing disorder (SPD), anxiety disorders, and other neurodevelopmental or sensory-related conditions. However, it’s important to note that sensory-friendly environments can also have positive impacts on all students, as they promote a more inclusive and supportive learning environment.

Flexible Seating Options: providing a variety of seating options, such as sensory-friendly chairs, bean bags, or floor cushions, to cater to different sensory needs and preferences of students can  allow students who are often considered gifted to be more focused. Sitting in one spot to work in school limits the amount that these students can focus. Allowing for flexible seating allows for students to have the ability to move and focus on their work enhancing their learning

Calm Down Corners: Establish dedicated calm down corners or zones within the classroom, equipped with comfortable seating, soft lighting, and sensory tools to help students regulate their emotions.

Personalized Sensory Kits:  Creating individualized sensory kits for students, containing items like noise-canceling headphones, stress balls, and sensory brushes, which they can use as needed.

A sensory-friendly environment benefits not only students with sensory sensitivities but also the entire learning community by promoting inclusivity, engagement, emotional well-being, and effective teaching practices.

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