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Sensory Processing

Working as the resource teacher has opened my eyes to the sensory needs of many students. This has been an area of some mystery to me – the student that wants to always stand very close to me and touch my arm, the child that smells my shirt each day, the boy that will only use my smooth eraser and not the bumpy one and the little girl that one day had a rainbow coloured nostril from sniffing smelly markers. Children that are over sensitive to noise. Children that love to chew things.

Seeking to understand how these sensory issues may or may not interfere in the classroom has been very interesting. I am especially interested in the sensory diet approach. Can a child that seeks sensory stimulation have that cup filled so that it is less of a need and the child can then better attend to the lesson at hand? (Or, alternatively, will the need always be present, never satiated?)

We have started working this year with a new occupational therapist. I like her, I think she will bring about some great new things to try. I wish more of my students had access to her plans and strategies.

Information From Our New OT

I have provided some sensory items to try and fill that need – a bit of an experiment for me.

Kinesthetic Learning

Kinesthetic learning is learning that takes place while the student engages in a physical activity.
Kinesthetic learning seems easier to incorporate in the learning of younger children but it is still vital to many older learners. Adding hands-on activities will enhance any lesson.


Many adults or older students still need to have motion added to their learning – this can take unexpected forms. Motion can be added with gum chewing, pencil tapping, doodling, leg bouncing, walking, note taking, highlighting, role playing, or typing. Kinesthetic learners need activity breaks. Unfortunately, many times the need for activity and motion is treated as misbehaviour.

“Children enter kindergarten as kinesthetic and tactual learners, moving and touching everything as they learn. By second or third grade, some students have become visual learners. During the late elementary years some students, primarily females, become auditory learners. Yet, many adults, especially males, maintain kinesthetic and tactual strengths throughout their lives.”(Teaching Secondary Students Through Their Individual Learning Styles, Rita Stafford and Kenneth J. Dunn; Allyn and Bacon, 1993)

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