Children who have sensory differences (like tactile defensiveness, auditory defensiveness, oral defensiveness, etc.) sometimes tune out or go into "sensory overload / sensory shutdown" mode when their nervous systems become overloaded.
Bright lights, light touch, smells, classroom noises, people talking too loud or too fast, not allowing adequate or extra time for a child to process visual or auditory information, an overstimulating environment (that has too many things on the walls or hanging from the ceiling), etc. – can independently or in combination result in a child "shutting down." The child may just stand still and stare, become agitated, or may find a way to physically retreat to a quiet or less stimulating area (perhaps just by putting their head down or going to the coat area).
Below are 10 favorite "calming" classroom tools selected by teachers! Many of these products can be especially helpful for children who have sensory differences, autism spectrum disorders, ADD or ADHD, Tourette Syndrome and other conditions in which sensory issues are common.
*Updated November 2023
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