My students have cognitive and varying degrees of behavioral differences. I have students identified as autistic, emotionally disturbed, and oppositional defiance. Many of them need sensory activities throughout the day. Some want to be wrapped in a mat and squeezed. We heard about this wonderful tool that will help students with the pressure they need without being wrapped up. They are wonderful students who sometimes struggle to express exactly what they need. Having these instruments will provide them with a way to meet their sensory needs.
The students in our class struggle with academics and social/emotional challenges. We have students who are on the autism spectrum, others have cognitive and emotional diagnosis as well as some who have been in environments that have triggered extreme behaviors.
Most of our students have what are called sensory needs.
Auditory sensitivities are addressed through noise cancelling headphones. Visual sensitivities are addressed by altering the lights or decreasing the amount of visual input. Those who need “pressure,” which is a touch sensory, are a bit trickier. We have weighted blankets and vests, but for some of our bigger guys, that is not enough. They ask to be “tacos.” Being a taco means wrapping up in a mat and having someone apply pressure to the mat. The student’s head is always out, and the student asks for more pressure as they desire.
The problem with the taco approach is, it is not easy to regulate. Our occupational therapist has suggested something called a “steamroller.” It is like the old-fashioned laundry rollers, and the amount of pressure can be adjusted with tension bands. Having this available for our students with pressure sensory needs will help us to regulate the amount of pressure the students use.
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