For those who need to provide resource hours to children with additional needs, a sensory integration room is a wonderful way to take a proactive approach to addressing the gaps in education these children present with and more importantly uncovers the gaps which have remain hidden to date.
By focusing on gross motor planning and sequencing exercises through supervised play, children demonstrate their various levels of kinesthetic intelligence, and their ability to deal with balance and motion. Some children will seek out certain types of sensory experiences and others will avoid them. With a little training and know how children who may need a little extra help, can make massive improvements in both their physical development and also emotional and social development because the play exercises we use for physical development work the same neural pathways for social and emotional development in the child.
Ultimately a child will be able to “THINK” or “DO” their way back to a calm alert state of mind, which is the state necessary for learning.
Please read through the following descriptions of children with additional needs. Maybe you have an Adam, a Jack or a Jamie. [Note: If the follow reads a little too clinical, don’t worry, we are here to help]
- Jamie has several social/learning problems. He was unable to focus on one thing at a time, poor impulse control, emotional immaturity, withdrawn or timid, easily distracted, difficulty playing ball games, aggressive, anxious, and/or highly excitable.
- Jack had difficulty keeping the head in a flexed position (needed for reading), trouble paying attention when sitting at a desk and/or reading, poor posture (weak abdominals from lack of flexion (eg like old people sitting in chairs in a nursing home), poor balance, motion sickness, dyspraxia, is a toe walker, has poor tone (muscle tone), dislike of physical education (PE), poor sense of rhythm/timing, oculo-motor difficulties (reading/writing), orientation and spatial difficulties.
- Ava was unable to sit still (‘ants in the pants’ child), had possible scoliosis, poor concentration, poor posture (weak abdominals from lack of flexion eg old people in nursing home), hip rotation on one side when walking (awkward walk/limping), chronic digestive issues, and bed wetting beyond age of 5 years.
- Luke has poor posture, tendency to slump when sitting, sits in a “W” position with their knees, Simian (ape-like) walk, poor eye-hand coordination, messy eater, clumsy child, difficulties with readjustment of binocular vision (child cannot change focus easily from blackboard to desk), slowness at copying tasks, poor swimming skills
- Hannah is 8 and has poor manual dexterity, poor pencil grip, difficulty with writing, intertwined speech and hand movements which can lead to difficulty with speech.
- Jane is 6 and has poor articulation, tactile sensitivity around the face, she is a messy eater, and has poor manual dexterity. Jane has a retained Rooting Reflex.
- Adam was a child who had poor handwriting, difficulty expressing ideas in written form, difficulty with eye tracking, difficulty with hand-eye coordination, difficulty with tasks that require crossing the mid-line (reading/writing), difficulty with tasks that require both sides of the body. Every time his head turned, his arm would follow it and the fingers open. Therefore, it took a lot of effort and concentration to try and hold the hand still while writing when his head had to move to look at another paper or the white board. By the time he got to 4th class he would complain of chronic or recurrent shoulder or neck injury/pain; often times always on the same side.
Motor planning and sequencing problems have been linked to a variety of developmental, behavioral, and learning challenges. More than 3 decades of clinical research on S.I. equipment demonstrates gains in motor planning and sequencing lead to improvements in:
- Attention and Concentration
- Focus and attend for longer periods of time.
- Increase physical endurance and stamina.
- Filter out internal and external distractions.
- Language Processing
- Improved Auditory Processing Skills and Mental Recall
- Behavior (Aggression & Impulsivity)
- Improve ability to self monitor mental and physical actions as they are occurring
- Gross Motor & Fine Motor Skills
- Progressively improve coordinated performance
- Additional Confidence in being able to do the same as other kids e.g. riding a bike
- Academic Performance
- I. space provides release value for teacher when pupil is caught in a fight/flight response mode
- Self Regulating Exercises that builds pupil’s ability to mange self.
- Achievement in physical work is a primer for mental, emotional and social development