Friday, March 1, 2013

Building Sensory Friendly Classrooms

BuildingSensory Friendly Classrooms  by Rebecca Moyes has been on my reading list for quite some time now. As a former teacher and as a mom of two kids with Sensory Processing Disorder, I knew this book would provide valuable insight for me. I was interested in reading advice from a special education teacher who so clearly understands SPD. Moyes has taught over 9 years and is an autism consultant, but she also happens to be the mother of a child with Asperger Syndrome.

I was sure this unique combination of experience would lead to insightful strategies for helping kids in the classroom. I was not disappointed. Building Sensory Friendly Classrooms is a book for parents and teachers alike.

Moyes dedicates the first two chapters to explaining in detail what Sensory Processing Disorder is, who it affects and what it might look like in different students. She demonstrates why it is important for all teachers to be aware of this disorder and why they should be adept at building classrooms in which kids with SPD can be successful.

This book should be required reading for all teachers, not just those who specifically work with special needs kids, because as Moyes explains research states that 5-10% of students are affected by SPD. Not only that, but the book outlines very important advice on data collection that every teacher should follow when presented with challenging behavior from students. Her ideas on tracking students and behavior issues can be extrapolated onto just about every possible challenge. I love that she emphasizes over and over again that teachers should collect concrete data to prove whether their interventions are helping a child and to determine what might trigger undesirable behavior.

In subsequent chapters, Moyes gives strategies to address SPD symptoms and describes how to create a sensory room within a class. Her chapters on self-stimulatory and self-abusive behavior and teaching stress management were eye-opening and gave me several wonderful ideas to try with my own son.

While this book’s intended audience seems to be teachers, it is definitely beneficial for parents as well. The advice Moyes offers teachers is important for parents to know about. Not only can parents implement many of her sensory strategies or data collection tips at home, but they can also share this same advice with their child’s teacher.

Also, the chapters on IEP and 504 Language and behavioral support plans for children with SPD are must-read material for any parent of a school-aged child with SPD who is navigating the world of special education.

Over the years, I have read many books about Sensory Processing Disorder, but this book, Building Sensory Friendly Classrooms, has by far offered the most complete information for kids and school. Teachers and parents can both benefit greatly from reading this book. More importantly, SPD kids everywhere will have a better chance at succeeding in school if the adults in their lives apply these principles and creative solutions in the class and at home.

If you would like more information on Sensory Issues and the classroom or how to address sensory issues in an IEP or 504 Plan, please contact Family Matters at 866-436-7842.   We can help ensure that your child's sensory needs are being addressed at school!
Building Sensory Friendly Classrooms is available at Future Horizons.  If you use the code PH when ordering, you will receive 15% off and free shipping on anything you order.  They have a lot of great resources on special needs and education!


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