Celebrating and Supporting Sensory Differences

Categories: OT Perspective | Sensory
April is Autism Acceptance month, and Sasha has been sharing tons of amazing information over the past few weeks.  One tip she shared is that we should try to create a culture in the classroom that celebrates everyone’s differences.  These differences may include sensory differences!  As an OT, I love talking about all things sensory. Today, I’m going to share my OT perspective on how you can discuss and support sensory differences as you work to create a neurodiversity affirming classroom.

Sensory Processing is an EVERYONE thing

It is so important to remember that sensory processing is an everyone thing.  We all do it, we all have our likes and dislikes and coping strategies.  This is a topic that everyone in the classroom can discuss. 

Understand Your Own Sensory Profile

Acceptance starts with understanding, right?  The more we understand about ourselves and our learners, the more we are able to advocate and provide support.  Think about the sensory input that you find calming and relaxing.  Think about the sensory input that you find to be noxious or stressful.   How do you like to start or end your day?  What strategies do you use when you are sitting in a super long IEP meeting to help you stay focused?  Do you find that you are more stressed in loud environments or when you are hungry? Understanding your own sensory needs is incredibly important not only to contribute to classroom conversations, but to build proactive strategies into your day to help you regulate as an educator or caregiver. Educators and caregivers need sensory strategies and supports too!

Share Examples from your own Experience

When you understand your own sensory profile, you can share these examples, feelings and strategies you use with your learners.  This is an excellent way to model the language and normalize the need for sensory strategies or breaks for everyone.

Help your Students Understand their Sensory Profiles

If you have the support of an OT, this is an excellent time to call them in!  Just like it is so important for us to understand our sensory profiles as educators, it is just as important for us to understand our students’ sensory profiles and help them understand what they need too.  This helps our students understand what environments or activities may be comforting for them, and which ones might be stressful.

Teach Advocacy Skills

When students understand their sensory profiles, it can help develop essential advocacy skills.  Being able to advocate for what they need is such an important life skill.  The earlier you can start to build this skill, the better!  

Create a Sensory Friendly Classroom

Creating a sensory friendly classroom can provide an inclusive way to offer choices and supports for all.  Check out this post for specific ideas.


What are some ways you celebrate and support sensory differences in your classroom?  Happy Autism Acceptance Month!!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *