Environmental Modifications To Help Children With Sensory Processing/Sensory Integration Disorders

Environmental Modifications For Children With Sensory Processing Disorders In Classrooms, At Home, or In A Daycare: 

  • Use dim, natural lighting

  • Use pale, pastel colors on walls

  • Provide a quiet/less stimulating corner of the room for a child to go to/use to calm down

  • Use blankets/ sheets/ play tents for child to sleep or just relax in

  • Have child sleep in or under heavy blankets, weighted blankets, or a sleeping bag

  • Use beanbag chairs and giant pillows to sit on and "squish" the child with

  • Provide relaxing music on tape player or headphones. For example, ocean waves, rain, classical music, nature tapes, slow/rhythmic music, white noise or nature sound machines

  • Reduce visual distractions

  • Keep toys/items/supplies neatly organized in bins and/or in their proper place

  • Avoid strong odors, use mild air freshening smells (vanilla works great!)

  • Schedule gross motor/ deep pressure/ movement activities prior to sit-down activities (circle time, lunch, table top activities etc.)

  • Show schedule in words and pictures

  • Provide many opportunities for "sensory" experiences (learning through movement, sight, taste, smell, touch, and sound)

  • These environmental modifications are a necessary part of the environment for any child with sensory processing disorders or sensory integration dysfunction. They will keep distractions to a minimum, help regulate the child's arousal level, increase concentration and productivity, and help the child stay in control throughout the day.

    I sure wish I had known what I know now about these environmental modifications when my daughter was born! I NEVER would have made her spend the first 7 years of her life in a BRIGHT YELLOW (and I mean bright, primary yellow!) bedroom. If someone had only told me!

    Please understand the importance of these modifications to the environment... you WILL notice a difference in children's "behavior" if you implement these suggestions. Trust me, I have seen it done!

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    Related Resources

    Sensory Processing Disorder Checklist - comprehensive SPD Checklist; signs and symptoms of tactile, auditory, olfactory and oral defensiveness, as well as proprioceptive and vestibular dysfunction.

    Click Here For A More Extensive & Specific List Of Environmental Accomodations For The Classroom

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