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Sensory Processing and Self-Regulation Support at Home

26 January 2021

QAC offers individualised sensory processing support to all students who face sensory environmental challenges that impact on their daily lives.

QAC staff member and student access College Sensory Provision

Sensory processing refers to how our brains process, interpret and respond to sensory information from our environments. This includes our responses from the following sensory processing systems:

  • Auditory - Noises and sounds
  • Visual - What we see and the intensity of it
  • Olfactory - What we can smell
  • Gustatory - What we taste
  • Tactile - The touch that we feel on our skin or with our skin
  • Vestibular - Our sense of balance and movement
  • Proprioception - Our awareness of our body and its position in space  
  • Interoception - Our internal body sensations including feelings of hunger, fullness, thirst, pain temperature, need for the bathroom and our emotions

If you are a parent/carer of a student at QAC, you can email Pagan (College Occupational Therapist) for access to our training videos that provide more information about sensory processing difficulties: pdarnell@qac.ac.uk 

The following areas of support provide links to exercises and activities that can be adapted for home use to support students who present with these needs. During lockdown, Pagan will contact families directly to advise which programmes they might benefit from at home if required. However, sensory processing and self-regulation programmes may be useful for all of our students during this time.

You can also contact Pagan at pdarnell@qac.ac.uk if you would like to discuss which programmes / exercises would specifically support you at home if you find this resource useful.

Equipment: Although many of the exercises are adapted to be equipment free, it may be useful to purchase a yoga ball / therapy ball for some of the self regulation and sensory motor activities. You can view balls to purchase in this attached linkThe average ball used at College is 75cm. 

Self regulation is the ability to stay regulated without the support from others. Many of our students need more help to learn how to self-regulate and they are learning to use their own strategies to either calm down or energise depending on the task or activities that they are doing. Sensory regulation strategies can help with self-regulation and at College, students may have a sensory diet or sensory strategies to help them to stay regulated throughout the day.

The following below links provide activities and exercises on flashcards that you can view online or download and print to use at home:

Some of our students have sensory motor / gross motor difficulties or have a diagnosis of dyspraxia that impacts on their daily participation at College. They may have difficulty planning and carrying out new motor actions and find it challenging to form a goal or idea, plan a sequence of actions or have difficulty with their day to day organisational skills. These students may be offered sensory motor support.

The following below link provides activities and exercises on flashcards that you can view online or download and print to use at home to help support the development of sensory motor skills. The activities are for students with various levels of ability, please choose the ones that provide an appropriate challenge.

Contact Pagan for support with this if required. The more practice, the more improvement you are likely to see:

This programme is specifically for students who require additional support with their postural control. The aim of these exercises is to improve core strength and stability and to help develop a stable base of support. Core stability refers to the muscles in our back and stomach being strong enough to hold our spine, shoulders and hips in a stable position. This is how we are able to maintain posture both when seated and when upright and moving.

Some students find it difficult to sit upright, walk for a distance, balance, jump or engage in physical movement without getting very tired or being prone to trips and falls. This can also impact on activities of daily living and the strength and stability required to dress and take care of ourselves.

The below attached link provides activities and exercises on flashcards that you can view online or download and print to use at home to help develop postural control and core stability. The activities are for students with various levels of ability, please choose the ones that provide an appropriate challenge. 

Contact Pagan for support with this if required. The more practice, the more improvement you are likely to see:

This programme is specifically for students who require support for their oral motor function. Our Occupational Therapist will have contacted you if this is a programme that you will find useful at home. This programme focuses on developing oral motor skills (within the mouth cavity) and is useful for students with difficulties with eating, swallowing and sensitivity in the mouth, as well as those who have difficulty with tactile discrimination in the mouth (ability to feel and identify input).

Some of the exercises are also helpful for students who seek oral motor stimulation and who frequently explore objects with their mouths. 

The below attached link provides activities and exercises on flashcards that you can view online or download and print to use at home to help with oral motor difficulties. The more practice, the more improvement you are likely to see:

The following exercises in the below attached link provide support to develop the foundation skills required for functional fine motor development. These have been adapted to suit resources and equipment that you may have lying around at home. The first flashcard is a list of the individual foundation skills required to develop fine motor skills and each flashcard will focus on these skills.

The activities are for students with various levels of ability, please choose the ones that provide an appropriate challenge.

Contact Pagan for support with this if required. The more practice, the more improvement you are likely to see:

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