About sensory functioning
Sensory functioning describes how the body responds to sounds, textures, lights, smells, pain, temperature and other stimuli or information in the environment. Some children can have reduced sensory awareness, such as children who are Deaf, deaf or hard of hearing, or children who are blind or low vision. Other children may find some sensory input distracting or distressing, such as those with autism.
Children who have increased or reduced sensitivity to sensory input may experience disruptions to their participation and engagement at school if modifications to the learning environment have not been made. All children will differ in the type and severity of sensory concerns they have.
Use the tabs below to explore when and why evidence-based sensory modifications may be particularly helpful for some children.
Best practice tips
Be aware of students’ sensory needs
Provide a quiet area
Have a safe back-up activity
Allow time to calm down
Allow the use of noise-reducing headphones
Visit our resources page for a range of resources that can help to create inclusive education environments for children with disabilities and developmental challenges. One particularly relevant resource supporting children with sensory input issues is: