Sensory Processing/Regulation

  • Sensory Processing is the ability to perceive, process, and respond to sensory information in the environment. Challenges in sensory processing can impact a students’ ability to successfully participate in activities within the educational environment. 


    Learning Tools 

    There are many tools that can help to support students in the classroom. Students may benefit from tools such as:

    • Chewing gum

    • A water bottle with a straw

    • Weighted items (lap pad, vest, shoulder wrap)

    • Standing desks

    • Alternate seating; such as a ball chair, rocking chair, or a stool

    • Sit and move cushion

    • Foot fidgets

    • Finger fidgets

    • Noise reducing headphones to reduce distraction or aversive noise

    • Quiet work area 

    • Using a scooter for a break in the hallway

    • Utilizing sensory pathway or activity stations

    Middle School Regulation

    Activities which are appropriate for elementary aged children can seem odd and out of place in middle school. In middle school, activities often shift from “sensory diets” to being “tools for success.”  Ideally, students should be encouraged to collaborate with school staff to plan how to Energize, Activate, and Restore during the school day by using available resources and spaces within the school environment in order to support their ability to feel comfortable and confident.  


    At School: 

    Planned breaks for individual students or whole class movement breaks can be incorporated to support student regulation throughout the school day. Allowing students that require additional movement opportunities to go for walks, run errands, and visit the sensory stations/pathways throughout the day are a good first step. Below are some examples for whole class movement breaks. Not only are they fun for students, but movement opportunities are necessary in order to support learning. Movement opportunities can improve focus and engagement in learning activities. 

    At Home:  


    There are a lot of activities that support sensory processing and development for your child. Movement is good and necessary for all kids and can contribute to regulation! We recommend engaging in activities that your child enjoys that provide them with activities that provide large muscle work such as swimming, martial arts, parkour, gymnastics, team or individual sports, running, bike riding, jumping activities, and playground play. 

    Helpful Links for Regulation:

    I Can Calm Myself: Quick calming strategies

    Zones of Regulation

    Zones of Regulation App



    Other ideas to get kids moving:

    Go Noodle movement activities : A variety of engaging movement activities.  Also has activities for calming kids

    Boks Burst chair aerobics 

    Cosmic kids yoga : Yoga and meditation activities for children