Multi-sensory learning environments

I am a School Based Occupational Therapist and Assistive Technology Professional working with students with special needs since 4 years

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Often times I have ended up suggesting physical modifications for the classroom for sheer comfort for student learning. I have always been a fidgety student myself. I need to move and get up and maintain my arousal level in order to function in the classroom. As I studied more about sensory systems and their impact on self regulation during graduate school;I started understanding more and more about how our physical environments and the way they are designed( the spaces that we spend our time in) can have a large impact on the way we take in information and interpret it. When I visualize a learning space,I don't see benches and rows and columns. I see a multi- sensory classroom with therapy balls,sit and move cushions,swings, tactile mats and a circular structure of seating where I can interact with all my classmates. Will students performance improve if they were given the chance to explore whatever their sensory systems needed at that time to regulate? If I am able to focus  more sitting on a therapy ball or with a weighted blanket and if that is available in my classroom,will it impact the way I take information in and how I interpret it. If there was a way to create multi sensory classrooms keeping in mind not only the children's needs but their sensory preferences,would it impact their ability to assimilate information? problem solve?

Share insights you heard during your empathy work. Which empathy activities did you engage with? How did these activities impact your idea?

I have a tendency to sit crossed legged and on the floor,it's how my body is most comfortable. It is also a cultural difference since sitting on the floor was a common practice in India. I often wondered if that posture might be a preference for students here? Do they have opportunities to use that as their preferred method of seating beyond a certain grade? Is it frowned upon if you weren't comfortable using a desk and a chair?


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