You can meet a lot of sensory needs just by thinking and preparing a bit, whether you’re at home or in school. We’ve collected some resources that can help you better understand children and young peoples sensory needs and handle them in everyday situations.
Early Years Fact File and School Age Fact File
Early Years Fact File and School Age Fact File holds information, advice and support invaluable in helping meet the needs of children and young people in the development of their physical, occupational and communication skills. Fact Files include information on developmental milestones, common and acceptable variations in typical development problems you may see and what to do. Topics relating to sensory processing include coping with lumps [in food], developing balance, messy play, auditory processing, calming, and perceptual skills.
Children and Young People’s Therapy Service Advice Line
You can contact the ‘Children and Young People’s Therapy Service Advice Line’ on 0303 033 3002.
They are open between 09:00 – 12:00 (except bank holidays): Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. For both professionals and parent carers.
Somerset Parent Carer Forum Library
Somerset Parent Carer Forum Library holds nearly 100 resource books that are loaned to parent carers, their families and practitioners free of charge. Including:
- Building Bridges: Through Sensory Integration by Carol Kranowitz MA
- The Out-of-Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz, MA
- C.A.T.S (Communication, Actions, Thinking Process and Sensory Processing) by A. Ward
- Can I tell you about Sensory Processing Difficulties?: A guide for friends, family and professionals by Sue Allen
WISE UP workshops
WISE UP workshops are being run across the county on a variety of topics including Understanding sensory differences. All workshops are delivered or co-delivered by someone with lived experience of being a parent carer.
Somerset Sensory Processing Handbook
Somerset Sensory Processing Handbook provides information for schools on how to support children and young people who experience difficulties with sensory processing. Although written for use in classroom environments, can still be useful for other environments.
Somerset Libraries have sensory kits containing ear defenders, fidget devices and sensory toys for use in the library for free.
See the page on SEND Sessions to find out about accessing community spaces when music volumes, flashing lighting and the number of people are reduced, to ease the sensory load. Theatres and Cinemas also run sessions where movement breaks during the show are welcomed. Ollie the Flamingo also highlights which shops and businesses are aware of sensory needs and autism and will turn the music or lights down if asked.
National Autistic Society
The National Autistic Society have a range of information on managing anxiety and sensory processing differences.
Autism Level UP
Autism Level UP has lots of freely available resources supporting a young person’s sensory and energy regulation with many free tools to download. Suitable for all children and young people and not just those diagnosed with autism.
Beacon House provide a number of trauma-informed resources designed to support young people who have experienced adverse childhood experiences. They have several resources on supporting sensory processing and all their resources are freely available to download.
The following have been developed by other areas but are still relevant for parent carers in Somerset. We thank them for sharing with us. Some will talk about conditions such as autism and anxiety but the strategies are just as relevant for all children and young people with sensory processing difficulties.
- NHS Kent Understanding your child’s sensory processing
- Sheffield Children’s Services Virtual Therapy Area – knowledge, ideas and strategies to support sensory needs that are impacting everyday life.
- Falkirk Council Children with Disabilities Team have a number of booklets with useful information and ideas
- Humber NHS Sensory Processing Hub with many free resources.
- PACE approach is a way of thinking, feeling, communicating and behaving that aims to make the child feel safe. Using PACE helps adults to slow down their reactions, stay calm and tune into what the child is experiencing in the moment. It supports us to gain a better understanding of what the child is feeling.