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"Sensory Stuff" for School Use

School-based OTs have a much narrower approach to sensory integration and sensory processing disorder than do private, clinic-based OTs. In school, the OT's job is not so much to change the sensory processing of the child as it is to make a better fit between the sensory needs of the child and the school environment. Most schools do not have the suspended or other movement equipment, the space, or the resources to allow for the extensive one-on-one time between therapist and child that is necessary to work directly on actually changing sensory processing.  Most agree that it isn't appropriate to do true Sensory Integration therapy in a school setting - it just isn't part of the scope of practice under IDEA or Multi-Tiered Interventions.

That doesn't mean, however, that there is nothing to be done for a child with sensory processing difficulties in the school! What is in our scope of practice is helping a child who has sensory processing difficulties to navigate the school environment (minimize sensory distractions, provide necessary sensory inputs for self-regulation so that the child can attend and learn) and we do this by giving teachers, parents, and some older children just enough information to use strategies and accommodations in the existing school environment. Often, a school-based OT will act as a consultant to gather relevant information from the teacher and staff and to help implement strategies to help the child work around any sensory difficulties. We tend to use terms like "over-sensitive," "triggers," "tools," and

Here is a list of resources and ideas with that aim in mind: