Creating a Sensory Responsive Classroom

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Differentiated instruction requires that educators review content, process, product, and learning environment from the perspective of each student for effective and inclusive teaching (Tomlinson, 1999). The movement of the general education classroom to an inclusive environment serves to support the intelligences of all students rather than limiting to the intelligences of a few. This paper examines the need of sensory responsive classrooms in the general education environment to fully support differentiated instruction. Sensory processing refers to how the brain interprets information through sensory input such as: vision (sight), audition (hearing), tactile stimulation (touch), olfaction (smell), gustation (taste), vestibular (balance and the sense of movement) and proprioception (the sense of knowing one's position in space (Cosbey, Johnston &,Dunn,, 2010). Many students have difficulty learning, regulating and adapting behavior based on sensory sensitivities and seeking experiences within their environment. Using research based multi-sensory and intelligences teaching practices, this paper suggests the creation and design of the general education classroom environment to support the sensory intelligences of all learners. These strategies are suggested through coordination of the student’s sensory profile. This may also include regulation of classroom lighting, use of music during transitional periods, and kinesthetic movement. By creating a sensory responsive classroom environment, the intelligences of all learners are addressed.
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