The Importance of Sensory Integration in the Classroom

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The Importance of Sensory Integration in the Classroom: A Mini-Course for Educators

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Introduction

Welcome to The Importance of Sensory Integration in the Classroom!

In this course, you will learn a variety of information from the very core of where sensory stems from, to how it benefits student learning and behaviors, to how you will implement sensory strategies in your own classroom! After completing this course, you will be able to successfully answer such questions as:

  • What is sensory?
  • How does sensory benefit student learning?
  • Is sensory beneficial to both special education and general education students?
  • Can sensory be used to curb problem behaviors in the classroom?
  • How can I implement sensory correctly in my own classroom?

The overall objective for this course is that you will be able to use the knowledge and techniques of sensory that you learn here and choose to implement it into your daily routine in your own classroom. As we work toward meeting this objective, you will be creating a reference guide to record the sensory strategies that you learn and take notes on how you think they may work best in your classroom. You will also be jotting down any additional notes on specific hypothetical classroom situations that are a part of this course as well. This reference guide as a whole with serve as a helpful tool when you go to implement the sensory methods in your class.

Enjoy the course, and always remember...

A phrase you may be saying in your own classroom soon!

Notes About This Course

This course is based on three units, each unit containing two lessons. The unit titles and objectives can be found below, as well as on each unit page. Throughout the course as you are working toward the objectives you will be taking on a variety of tasks such as:

  • Read various information
  • Watch videos
  • Take notes in your reference guide
  • Reflect and discuss your learning with your classmates
  • Reflect on your learning in written responses


To get the most out of this course you will:

  • Read, watch, and listen to all required materials
  • Actively discuss your learning throughout the course, both individually and with your classmates
  • Use your reference guide as you implement sensory in your own classroom

This course will be filled with a lot of pertinent information to incorporating sensory methods. Please do not feel you have to include every method in your reference guide, only those you feel will best benefit your students.

I recommend using a medium sized steno book to record your notes. It will be helpful to you to organize your reference book into three sections:

1) General notes on the use of sensory
2) Scenario Reflections
3) Reference to specific sensory exercises

To serve as a reminder to record your thoughts and/or sensory ideas you may have found to be important, you should jot down notes/ideas in your reference guide every time you see the following symbol:

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Unit 1: What is sensory integration and how does it impact classroom learning?

In the first unit, you will learn about the basics of sensory, including the definition, history, and how it impacts both general education and special education classrooms.

Unit 1 Objectives:

  • Learners will identify the history of sensory and its' development into today's classroom by answering a series of multiple choice questions.
  • Learners will reflect on the importance of sensory use in the general education classroom through written response.

Lesson 1: What is sensory?

Lesson 2: Is sensory only used in special education?

Unit 2: What are some of the benefits of using sensory in the classroom?

In the second unit, you will dive into learning all about the foundation of sensory integration in the classroom. You will see first hand through research and video feedback how sensory exercises and methods hold such a crucial role in everyday student learning.

Unit 2 Objectives:

  • Learners will generate a list of examples of the benefits of sensory integration as a behavior management tool, and explain how and why these sensory strategies could improve the quality of learning in students.
  • Learners will identify examples of how sensory can be properly be used as a behavior management tool in the classroom by answering a series of multiple choice questions.

Lesson 3: How can sensory be used as a behavior management tool?

Lesson 4: How would you handle specific behavior situations with the use of sensory?

Unit 3: Now it's your turn! How are you going to implement sensory in YOUR classroom?

The third unit is based all around putting the information you learned in units one and two to use in your own classroom. You will learn how to apply the foundational information you obtained and how best to apply sensory exercises in a routine format with your students.

Unit 3 Objectives:

  • Learners will generate a list of at least three examples of the benefits of sensory integration specific to the context of their classroom, and explain how these sensory strategies will increase quality of learning in their students.
  • Learners will execute at least three new sensory exercises in their own classroom by first modeling to students how to use the proper motor skills to perform the exercises, then reflecting through written response on the outcome of the implementation of these exercises in the classroom.

Lesson 5: How could sensory exercises benefit my classroom?

Lesson 6: Putting it into place: How can I ensure my students are getting their sensory needs met?

References and Resources

Carbone, E. (2001). Arranging the classroom with an eye (and ear) to students with ADHD. Teaching Exceptional Children, 34(2), 72-80.

Cosbey, J., Johnston, S., & Dunn, L.M. (2010). Sensory processing disorders and social participation. American Occupational Therapy Foundation, 64(3), 462-473.

Merrilee, A. (2009). Definition of sensory integration. www.disabled-world.com/definitions/sensory-integration.php

Worthen, E. (2010). Sensory-based interventions in the general education classroom. Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, and Early Intervention, 3(1), 76-94.