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I am an Occupational Therapist, working with students with various disabilities and special needs, including but not limited to, Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, and Sensory Processing Disorder. While they are all different diagnosis, the common challenges that these students face are sensory processing difficulties and academic challenges. When thinking about teaching and learning, we often ask ourselves "Where do we begin?" As an Occupational Therapist, I frequently refer to the Pyramid of Learning, developed by OT, Kathleen Taylor, and Special Educator, Maryann Trott. In this pyramid, the basis of learning begins at the bottom of the pyramid, which consists of sensory processing skills development. From within the womb, a fetus begins to learn about their body through different senses, including but not limited to touch, sound, and movement. As children get older, they continue to learn about themselves and the world through sensory rich experiences; they learn to navigate through the space around them (using vision, proprioception, vestibular system), learn of danger, learn to manipulate toys, and how to socialize. Proper sensory system development allows for higher level functions, such as cognition, to develop; although it may not appear so obvious, appropriate sensory pathways provide readiness for academic learning. These challenges make it extremely difficult to engage in the structure of academic tasks. This project would allow me to build a sensory room, in which my students will have the opportunity to feed their bodies with sensory input that will help them better participate in academic tasks. The swing will add to the vestibular and proprioceptive input that students need to integrate reflexes, regulate their bodies, and increase readiness for structured tasks. The weighted vest will be used for students who need increased and consistent deep pressure throughout the day, so that they can regulate their energy level and emotions.Read more