Sensory Play and Learning
Presented on Friday, 11 March 2011
The importance of sensory stimulation
- Exploring the senses:
- Sense of wonder and magic
- Use each sense to its maximum potential
- Combine information from each sense to gain more understanding of their world
- Have new sensory experiences they may be unable to find for themselves
- Learn to filter out sensory messages that are not important
- Don't bombard the child with lots of sensory stimuli at once
- Be sensitive and observant – is the child enjoying the sensations or becoming distressed, bored or withdrawn?
- Allow time for the child to experience the sensation, without distractions
- Not enough sensation (hyposensitive)
- Need more
- Too much sensation (hypersensitive)
- Need less
- From passive to active use of the senses
We can use sensory work to help the child
Sensory work is a powerful tool and must be used with care!
Seeker or Avoider?
- Being touched by fabrics
- Breathing in smells
- Feeling and exploring
- Sniffing to get the smell
- Actively savouring and discriminating between tastes
Early interaction skills
... the building blocks of later play, leisure and social skills
Multisensory environment - Uses
- A laboratory where we can control the environment, remove distractions and interruptions, introduce various stimuli and observe the result - what does she like,
what can he see/hear, what combination of effects works for them?
- A quiet, comfortable area for relaxation and 'chilling out'.
- A stimulating environment which encourages alertness and concentration.
- Specific aims for people with autism - calming down, increasing arousal levels or
creating small safe places.
- A play and leisure facility.
- A place for clients and enablers to share enjoyment and communication as equals.
- A safe space to put the principles of Intensive Interaction into practice.
- A learning environment which supports and extends curriculum activities.
- A place to learn about cause and effect, switch operation, gaining control and making choices.
- A performance space for sensory storytelling and theme work.
Ground rules for using the multisensory environment
- It is not a dumping ground, or a place to chat to colleagues about what you watched on television last night.
- It is an enriched environment which supports our interactions with clients and facilitates their interactions with their world and the people in it.
- The equipment does not do the work!
- We - workers, parents, carers - are the most important resource in the sensory
environment, but we are not there to be the Butlin's Redcoat or entertainer.
- We are the enabler, facilitator, observer - assisting the person we are supporting to
access the sensory environment.
- We do not go into the multisensory environment and switch everything on.
- We ensure that the multisensory environment is a clean, pleasant place to be, and that everything works appropriately and reliably.
- Sensory in a Suitcase (Sensory Plus)
- Sensory Trolley (Mike Ayres Design)
- Do it yourself storage
Structuring sensory sessions
Clear the decks!
- Visual environment
- Sound environment
- Are we distracting?
Starting the session
- Objects of reference
- Smell reference
- Reduce light levels gradually
- Starting ritual
The middle bit!
There are various ways of structuring the session:
- Sensory routines, eg; TacPac
- Sensory stories
Ending the session
- Bringing the light back to normal levels
- Ending ritual
- Collection of little sensory items to take back into the 'real' world
Developing sensory stories
- General interest in sensory work
- True inclusion
Making sensory stories
Title: Rainbow Fish
Container: Blue cloth bag with fish shapes sewn on