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Part of
Sensory Processing Handbook

The eight senses - guidance for practitioners in Somerset

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Part of
Sensory Processing Handbook

The eight senses - guidance for practitioners in Somerset



Information on the nature of sensory processing differences and the impact they can have on children and young people's lives

Somerset SEND CharterWhat is sensory processing?Sensory processing differences or difficultiesInteroception – the eighth senseChecklists and assessments

The sensory system

Safe interventions for both children and young people, and groups


School approaches

Recommendations for creating appropriate learning environments for pupils with sensory processing differences

Whole school approachClassroom strategiesWhat to do if you are concerned a pupil is experiencing sensory processing difficultiesReferring to occupational therapy

Ways to support

  • Check that the classroom environment meets the needs of different children.
  • Create areas of working with less sensory stimulus so that they can work at times with reduced distraction.
  • Consider different lighting or reducing the number of things on walls.
  • Create calm areas. These areas should be separate from isolation and exclusion areas and should be seen as places of safety. Consider creating spaces through pop up tents/sheets thrown over tables/dark dens (which can be obtained through schemes such as supermarket vouchers).
  • Create clear visual displays including visual timetables, keywords and topic vocabulary, resources and expectations rules and objectives.
  • Create movement breaks to split lessons that involve a lot of sitting.
  • Make sure that all changes are well prepared for, and that pupils are given as much warning as possible particularly about change.
  • Develop careful planning around transition times. Children and young people with sensory issues often find change, dealing with crowds, noise and smells quite tricky to cope with. They can be given slightly different transition times, or jobs to do instead of lining up for example.
  • Have a range of resources at your disposal, such as fiddle aids (blue tac, bands and squidgy balls), move and sit cushions and lap weights. It is useful to have extras available, so all children can use systems that enable them to regulate themselves and be independent learners.

Last reviewed: November 29, 2023 by Helly

Next review due: May 29, 2024

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