Posted in Accommodations, Autism, Differentiated instruction, Learning styles, Sensory, Special ed, Tactile

Chapter 46: Ensnare the Senses

Whew! Three weeks into school, I finally caught my breath enough to share my latest project: a collection of tools designed to make my classroom more sensory-friendly for students with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) or related issues.

I cribbed some of these ideas from Pinterest, Googled others, and dreamed up a couple myself. Most of the materials are readily available at your local dollar store.

1. Tabletop sensory wall: This frame full of textures, pictured at the top of this post, is a miniature variant on the sensory walls I’ve seen all over Pinterest. I don’t have space for a whole sensory wall, but I found this collage-style picture frame for $3.50 at Family Dollar, loaded it with materials of varying textures, and ended up with a tactile tool students can set on a desk in front of them or hold on their laps. Mine has rubber shelf liner ($1 a roll) taped over a scrap of holographic cardstock; part of a car-wash mitt ($4); and part of a nubby-textured dishcloth I had in the rag bag, but you could use just about anything you have on hand.

Dry sensory jar full of pompoms, googly eyes, and glitter
This sensory bottle has a monster theme.

2. Monster in a bottle: Basically a good old-fashioned sensory jar. I filled this one with pompoms ($1 a bag), googly eyes ($1 a bag) and glitter ($1 a tube) and glued the lid shut with Barge Cement.

Sensory jar full of glitter and baby oil
I made this sensory jar with baby oil and glitter.
Purple sensory jar
This one is made with shiny objects suspended in a mixture of water and hair gel.

3. and 4. Liquid sensory jars: There are tons of recipes on Pinterest. I made one with baby oil and one with a mixture of warm water and hair gel. Whatever recipe you choose, make sure you use a strong adhesive to seal the bottle shut.

Sensory bin filled with rice, pasta, and toys
This sensory bin is filled with rice, dry pasta, and small toys.

5. Sensory bin: A plastic tub ($1) full of rice (80 cents a bag), Mexican shell pasta (35 cents a bag), and some trinkets leftover from my geocaching hobby. Very quick and cheap to make.

Clear pouch filled with textured objects
A glittery pencil case holds a stash of fidget toys.

6. Stim tool kit: A pencil pouch ($1) stuffed with comforting items for busy hands.

Rainbow Slinky toy and gold Christmas ornaments

A few items wouldn’t fit in the bag.7. Extras: A rainbow Slinky knockoff ($1) and a few spare Christmas ornaments in varying textures.

We’ll test-drive these next week and see what works best.

Emily

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Raised by hippies. Aging and proud of it.

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