Making the MOST of your Minutes!

Well what better day to think about managing your classroom (or therapy room, or home) than Halloween when there is excitement in the air!

As a school-based pediatric occupational therapist I KNOW that teachers have the very best intentions for their students. Whether it is having the room decorated with oh so many posters and pictures, or rearranging the desks every 2-4 weeks for a change, or even allowing them to have water or chew gum during class!

For some students this is exciting and fun. For others with visual attention problems, auditory sensitivities, tactile needs, difficulty with organization, or decreased executive functioning skills – this can be overwhelming or even scary.

The referrals for students with “sensory issues” is on the rise. So first, it’s important to remember that we ARE ALL sensory beings. We all have our 5 major senses plus PROPRIOCEPTIVE (pressure on muscles and joints), INTEROCEPTION (internal sensations), VESTIBULAR (movement). So we all have sensory needs & sensory issues but most of us have strategies that we use to manage.

I personally chew gum or suck on hard mints, listen to music, take a quiet break after my work day, have crunchy snacks at lunch, exercise, love to swing, play with pen caps, constantly take my hair up into a ponytail and down again, and ask my husband for big hugs. I have learned what makes my body feel good and know to ask for it or seek it out.

Young students cannot and should not be expected to know exactly what their body needs at all times. That’s when we come into play. While every child is different, there are general strategies that can be in place to support a classroom as a whole, not single out a specific student, and provide input to help regulate students throughout the day.

Please click on the link below to see how spending an extra 15-19 minutes a day can give your students more opportunities to move and promote sensory experiences throughout the school day!

Making the most of your minutes example schedule

Let us know what strategies you find beneficial in your own classroom!

Happy Halloween 🙂

Colleen Marshall MS, OTR/L

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