It can be difficult to adapt your classroom to fit the needs of all your kids, but there are certain things you might want to consider to increase the success of your students, especially if you have any with sensory sensitivities.
Tuck it away – decrease any visual clutter and be mindful of your surrounding when you want the students to pay attention to what you are saying. This may mean you have a nice blank patch of wall that you may sit in front of when you are reading stories, assigning jobs, or reciting other important information for the class.
Turn the volume down – If you have a hard floor throughout your classroom you might consider using area rugs to decrease to click-clack of shoes on the tile or putting tennis balls on the bottom of your chairs to reduce squeaks. You might also turn the volume up, put on some soothing classical music or natural sounds.
Mood lighting – have different lighting options available. You may do this by having a corner of the room where lighting is dimmed, using a sheet or by providing a hade away fort, for kids that need a calming space. Other areas of the room may have further lighting options for kids that need more alerting sensations.
Finger foods – have calming and alerting food options available for students. Foods that are cold, sour, and crunchy are great for our kids that need some stimulation. Warm, sweet, chewy, foods as well as drinking with straws can all be calming for our overactive students.
Make them work – have carts or blankets available that students can use to pull each other around with or push all their toys on. Carts may be used by students during clean up or when passing activities out. Having heavy work opportunities for student’s that are at high arousal states and jobs for students at a low arousal can help get them into an optimal state for learning.