All children in the SRP – as well as some identified children – take part in a regular programme of specifically designed physical activities called a Sensory Circuit. This daily programme helps to focus concentration – in readiness for the day’s learning.
To give some background information to the scheme, a senior Occupational Therapist has made the following observations:
‘Children who have difficulty organising and making sense of sensation may have difficulty learning in school. This child may need to work harder to achieve the same outcomes as other children within their class. They may feel tired, anxious and helpless most of the time. They may have difficulty in getting changed for PE on time, writing legibly, remembering sets of instructions or paying attention in a busy room full of people. Equally they may be fidgety, jumpy and easy to anger – acting out rather than withdrawing from a situation.’
Sensory Circuits is a programme developed by an experienced senior Occupational Therapist, who specialises in sensory integration and sensory processing difficulties and is delivered by experienced members of staff, who have been trained by the Paediatric Occupational Therapy Team from Kent Community Health NHS Trust.
The Sensory Circuits structure is simple and runs in three sections;
- The Alerting Section – which aims to provide stimulation in a controlled environment, to prepare the brain for learning and the demands of the school environment.
- An Organising Section – which includes activities that require multi-sensory processing and balance. Activities such as climbing, hopping, balancing, looking and throwing into a target hone skills that may increase a child’s focus, attention span and performance within the classroom setting.
- The Calming Section – which ensure the children leave the circuit and return to the classroom calmly and as ready for the day as possible.
Possible benefits of a sensory circuit may be improvements in self-esteem, quiet, unresponsive children are more ready to engage, improvement in focus and attention, quicker more efficient dressing skills, improved communication skills – as well as development of physical skills.
We deliver this programme, without it impacting on valuable class learning time, as the circuit takes place before registration each morning for no longer than 10 – 15 minutes to allow the children to return to class promptly by 8:45 am.