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How To Handle Sensory Overloads At School

Sensory Children are often mislabeled as hyper, distracted, or even uncoordinated. If your child displays sensory concerns, just making a few changes to the environment they are in can make them feel safe. Making school feels safe is so important since they will be staying most of their waking hours in this environment. They will be learning academics but also social skills. Keeping this in mind, here are some great sensory-friendly ways to keep the school feeling like a safe place.

The Color

Not just the color of the walls, but what you put on the walls. How you decorate the walls with lots of colors or decorations can cause a child's visual system to be overstimulated. Colors that are alerting such as red, orange, and yellow can be placed in an active play area, while a calming area should have colors such as blue, green, or purple.

Children who are distracted by noise should be seated closer to the teacher and face the center. When seated their feet should be planted on the floor. If they are too little, then a book or footstool should be placed to help secure their feet. This provides stability for them and allows proper posture which impacts their trunk, breathing, stability, and ability to self-feed accurately.

Sensory Area

If your child is overstimulated it is helpful to have an area that your child can go to to help them self-regulate. This area usually has a bean bag chair, noise-canceling headphones, weighted objects, and fidgets. Your child should be aware of when they need to take a sensory break prior to a meltdown, use a signal, or ask the teacher for permission to go to the sensory area.

If your child has an IEP or a 504 plan you should speak and can either make a meeting with the teacher or email them to try to set up a time that would work for them to go over concerns you have about your child. It is best to have a list of exact items you would like to bring to their attention because sometimes there can be distractions and you can forget to mention something. It is also useful to have a communication log book that everyone on your child's team can look at and write in to make sure everyone is on the same team.

School should be a safe place that provides your child with the tools they need to feel secure and well-adjusted. Through open communication, sensory tools, and collaboration your child’s team will have a successful year.

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