Sensory Needs in the Classroom - Research & Safety

Today’s teachers endeavour to optimise children’s learning; however there are many students for whom learning is a struggle because of a wide range of issues. These include delayed motor skills, poor concentration and focus, lack of motivation, behaviour challenges, unmet sensory needs and anxiety.

In their search for ways to help their students most teachers have tried or become aware of interventions including body socks, weighted vests and blankets, sensory blockers (ear muffs etc), computer based instructional activities, tactile and body stimulation toys.  The success of the myriad of approaches is as variable as the children on whom they have been tried. A further concern is whether some of these techniques meet non-restrictive practice guidelines and Australian safety standards.

Research informs us that touch and movement contribute to the reduction of anxiety, promotes feelings of calmness and focuses the brain ready for learning.* Secondly the incorporation of movement and actions in the learning process has been shown to enhance the retention of  the presented information, particularly during the early developmental years.

Several popular techniques aimed at addressing concentration and anxiety issues, have arisen out of the research on the impact “deep pressure”. The efficacy of “Deep Pressure” as a possible positive behaviour change agent is based on research reporting that the application of deep pressure, on the body and/or particular body parts, produces measurable biochemical changes in the brain. These changes are in the areas of the brain associated with reduction in anxiety and improved concentration.

MyBurrow is a new product designed to help children optimize learning in a wide range of environments. It can be used with multi-age and multi-ability groups. Multiple objectives can be targeted during a single session. It is user friendly and safe, abiding by non-restrictive practices. The manufacturing standards and the materials used by MyBurrow comply with Australian Standards for safety, toxicity and flammability. 

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* For 2 great summaries on the latest research visit: kqed.org ‘Why Kids need to move, touch & experience to learn.’ By Katrina Schwartz  &  the Harvard article 'Research into our sense of touch leads to new treatments for autism' by Emily Kuehn  Also check out Chapter 4, Movement & learning, Teaching with the Brain in mind, 2nd Ed. Eric Jensen 2005 Pub Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

Written by Helena Smith and Dimitra Baveas  MyBurrow® 2019©