School Sensory Detective

What can I do?; Sensory Detective; Learning Challenge Detective

Home; Stims; Play; Social; Other

General, Sitting, Writing/Coloring

School - General
Behavior Interpretation Area Intervention
Talks self through a task. May need the added input to help keep himself focused and stay on task to completion. Sound of own voice may block out other auditory input. May have poor selfconcept about abilities based on motor planning difficulties.  Hearing, Organization Allow the child to do this if it does not interfere with others. Utilize a hand fidget to help decrease anxiety. Provide a weighted lap pad for deep pressure input. Develop visual supports for use in a situation where child is unable to talk himself through tasks without disturbing others. This might also give him the extra support to refocus and continue if he becomes distracted. Teach the child to self-talk using a lower volume.
Steps on peers' heels/feet when talking, misses the chair when attempting to sit down, or sits on peers when group is sitting on the floor. Poor awareness. Difficulty planning motor actions.   Motor Planning, Body Aware At the preschool or early elementary level consider having the child hop, skip, do jumping jacks, bend down and touch toes half way down the hall (depending on motor planning ability). These activities may also be effective if done within the classroom just before walking down the hall. Consider placing the student at the front or back of the line. Ensure appropriate amount of spacing between students in line. Instruct the child to carry her books against her body with hands touching opposite elbows. Teach the child a song that she can sing to herself while walking down the hall.
Drops books. Has trouble with motor planning related to successfully completing task. May require additional Body Aware input to judge body movements and adjustments needed. Motor Planning, Body Aware Use proprioception, fine, and gross motor activities to increase coordination and strength.
Intolerant of scratch-n-sniff stickers. Is olfactory sensitive. Smell Protect against unnecessary odors.
Smells everything. Is olfactory seeking. Smell Provide opportunities to smell strong smells - cinnamon, citrus, pine, or peppermint. Have scented lotions available for child to use. Try Scent Inhalers.
Has poor organizational skills; constantly loses school materials; papers fall out of notebook. Has difficulty focusing on relevant stimuli. Has difficulty discriminating the items he may need from other things in his desk.  Organization Provide visual structure through color coding or assignment books. Use tape inside the desk as a boundary marker for books. Organize materials under the desk or on a bookshelf so they are always visible. Use a sturdy box lid to contain student materials. Slide the box into the desk where it serves as a laptop desk. Provide a notebook to carry papers to and from home with clearly marked "Homework" sections for each subject.
Becomes uncomfortable in a certain position. Is Body Aware seeking. Body Aware Provide opportunities for movement during seated work.
Wiggle seat or core disk
Standing desk.
Sitting on a yoga ball instead of a chair.
Office chair to allow for rotation (but not spinning).
Moves arm and hand in repetitive patterns (self-stimulatory). Is Body Aware seeking. Body Aware Place heavy book on child’s lap or weighted sock on shoulder or weighted backback 
Hooks limbs on furniture to obtain support. Needs support to counter gravity insecurity.  May require additional Body Aware input to judge body position. Body Aware, Balance / Movement Provide chair with arms. Use proprioception, Balance / Movement, and gross motor activities to increase coordination and strength.
Has difficulty transitioning in busy hallways. May be touched unexpectedly by somebody. The touch may be misinterpreted as a hit, causing a defensive response. Noise in the hall may be too loud. Visual activity may be disorienting.   Touch, Hearing Allow the child to be first or last in line.  Allow the child to leave class 5 minutes early.  Have the child carry something heavy to provide proprioception input.  Create a map that provides a visual plan or route between locations.  Have the child hold the door open for the rest of the class by leaning her back into the door. This extra input may help her tolerate the subsequent sensory input of the hall.  Consider preferential placement of locker (at the end of the row) to decrease opportunities for unintentional physical contact with other students.
Cries when tape or glue gets on skin. Is Touch sensitive. Touch Implement a brushing routine (with training)
Hands extend when attempting to type. Is Touch sensitive. Touch Implement a brushing routine (with training)
Only tolerates one pencil, type of paper, only wooden objects. Is Touch sensitive. Touch Identify and provide preferred surface textures
Overreacts to pats, hugs; avoids such actions. Touch may be uncomfortable if unexpected.  Touch When appropriate, allow the child to determine when he will hug or kiss. Enlighten family members or friends about the child's preferences to avoid uncomfortable and embarrassing situations. Let the child know before a hug or kiss takes place.
Avoids turning head to look at persons or find source of sound. Is Balance / Movement sensitive. Has a low tolerance for movement, subsequently limiting head movements.  Balance / Movement Encourage to slowly turn body to face sound. Use Balance / Movement and gross motor activities to increase coordination and strength.
Moves head in repetitive pattern (self-stimulatory). Is Balance / Movement seeker. Balance / Movement Play balance and movement games.
Run errands, one at a time.
Attends excessively to bright/ flashing objects. Is visual seeker. Visual Bring child’s attention to objects in context
Can't keep place on the page. May have binocular vision issues. Visual Have tested. Play bilateral coordination games.
Can't locate desired item on communication board. Has poor visual discrimination. Visual Use visual discrimination activities to increase ability.

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School - Sitting
Behavior Interpretation Area Intervention
Crawls under desk. Needs to be away from distractions from others talking, lights buzzing, etc. Needs her personal space defined.   All Provide a quiet area in the room for the child. The area could contain beanbags, large pillows, or a rocking chair.  Reinforce with positive feedback  when the child lets you know he  needs some "quiet time."  Provide a large barrel or small  playhouse for sitting. ' Wrap the child in a quilt. Allow the child to sit in an  upholstered chair with arms. Seat the child away from  distracters. Seat the child near the teacher.  
Sits with legs on top of chair back. Desk and chair may not fit student size. May need additional Body Aware input. May be self-regulating.   Body Aware If the child is not in danger of hurting himself, allow the behavior. Ensure that desk and chair size are appropriate for child. Provide inflatable disc, camping pillow, therapy ball or t-stool. Allow the child to complete assignments while lying on the floor or standing by the desk. Have the child sit on her legs. Give frequent movement breaks.  
Has difficulty keeping hands and feet to self when sitting in groups. Craves Touch input. Doesn't understand about personal boundaries. May learn by handling or manipulating objects.   Touch Provide visual or physical boundaries for sitting such as tape boundaries, carpet squares, placemats, inflatable disc, or camping pillow.  Provide a "fidget item" such as a Koosh Ball™ or Tangle™. Often fidget items can be academically related, such as holding a play cow when studying farm animals or grasping a squeeze/stress ball that looks like a planet when studying the solar system.  If the reaction occurs during a floor-based activity, have child lie on her stomach, propping her head on her elbows.  Have a child hold or squeeze a large pillow held in lap.  

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School - Writing/Coloring
Behavior Interpretation Area Intervention
Has messy handwriting; unable to stay within the lines. Has difficulty with fine-motor skills. May have weak hand muscles. Does not receive the appropriate sensations to plan how to move and design a sequence of what comes next. Feel of the pencil may interfere with an effective pencil grasp. Creative writing or generating own sentences is more challenging than copying.   Touch, Fine Motor Have the child engage in grossmotor activities before he is asked to perform fine-motor activities such as 5 chair push-ups or donkey kicks before writing. Encourage the child to participate in activities that develop hand strength (i.e., wheelbarrow walking, crawling).  Hide items in therapy putty and ask the child to find them. This can be made more challenging by asking the child to do the activity using only one hand to pull the putty apart to retrieve the small items inside.  ' Emphasize movement with handwriting instruction, such as practicing large letters in the air or on the chalkboard.  Have the child write on "bumpy" paper with raised lines.  
Holds pencils and crayons by fingertips only and only uses fingertips when feeling toys. Touching items with the palm of the hand may be uncomfortable.  May not have the appropriate amount of strength in her hands.   Touch, Fine Motor Provide deep pressure input (using thumb to rub) to palm of child's hand prior to activity. Encourage activities that require the hands to touch and hold materials and objects such as constructing toys and art projects. Incorporate various textures during play such as beans or rice. Use activities that progress from only using fingertips to involving the whole hand. Introduce finger paints, shaving cream and lotion first. Then move to activities requiring hands, such as holding a ball or playing with Playdoh™.  

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