Although things may look different for some of us starting back school this fall, engaging in seated, structured learning activities for longer periods of time can often bring about various issues and struggles in kiddos that you may not have seen in your child over summer break. 

Here are some important things to look for in your students or children that may yield further assessment or evaluation from an occupational therapist to assess sensory processing needs: 

  • Difficulty sitting still during circle time or longer periods of time, often disrupting the class. 
  • Difficulty paying attention, often seeming easily distracted by things happening around them. 
  • Poor body awareness, often bumping into other children or objects, or falling out of their chair for no apparent reason.
  • Becomes easily dysregulation when asked to switch from one activity to another. 
  • Frequent dysregulation during active play time, school assemblies, or during larger group activities. 
  • Struggles during handwriting tasks, specifically difficulty holding a pencil correctly.
  • Becomes easily fatigued during handwriting tasks.
  • Shows poor posture while seated at a desk. 
  • Becomes dysregulated during safety drills with loud noises or bright lights. 
  • Is overly fearful of playground equipment. 
  • Have trouble sensing the amount of force they are applying, for example when playing with their peers pushing or throwing too hard, or when erasing on their paper causing it to rip.
  • Difficulty keeping their hands to themselves, frequently touching others.
  • Seem to seek out movement, frequently running or jumping. 

Here are some ideas of things teachers and parents can keep handy in the classroom or at home to support kiddos sensory needs: 

  • Fidget toys
  • Weighted blankets 
  • Wobble cushions 
  • Noise cancelling headphones or earplugs 
  • Lightly tinted sunglasses
  • Pencil grips
  • Tactile sensory bins