A Guide to sensory circuits
What are sensory circuits?
Sensory circuits are physical activities that help to alert, organise and then relax the senses of children so that they are ready to take part in activities and one-to-one work. Participating in a short sensory motor circuit is a great way to alert or calm children to settle them into and throughout the day.
The circuit needs to incorporate the 3 stages,
Alerting, Organizing and Calming.
For children with low arousal you will concentrate mainly on alert and for children who are highly aroused, concentrate on the calming activities.
To focus concentration in readiness for the days learning.
Encourage the development of sensory processing skills.
Help with progression in self-regulating arousal levels.
Help to develop sensory motor difficulties (including praxis)
Who will a Sensory Circuit Help?
Sensory circuits will help anyone that presents with any of these behaviours and difficulties:
Examples of some equipment that can be found at home
• Skipping rope
• Trampette / Trampoline
• Yoga mats
• Bean bags
The aim of the alerting activities is to provide VESTIBULAR and PROPRIOCEPTIVE input to make the child more aroused and ready for learning.
Vestibular input is the sense of movement, centered in the inner ear. Any type of movement will stimulate the vestibular receptors, but spinning, swinging, and hanging upside down provide the most intense, longest lasting input. DO NOT add a lot of vestibular activities if the child struggles with excessive movement.
Here are a few examples of vestibular activities you could put into a sensory circuit:
Proprioceptive input (sensations from joints, muscles and connective tissues that underlie body awareness) can be obtained by lifting, pushing, and pulling heavy objects, including your own weight. A child can also stimulate the proprioceptive sense by engaging in activities that push joints together like pushing something heavy or pull joints apart like hanging from monkey bars.
Here are a few examples of proprioceptive activities you could put into a sensory circuit:
ANY VESTIBULAR ACTIVITY SHOULD BE FOLLOWED BY A PROPRIOCEPTIVE ACTIVITY.
The aim of these activities is to provide challenges involving multi-sensory processing, for example balancing and moving, throwing and balancing.
Here are a few examples of organising activities that could be put into a sensory circuit:
All of these activities provide sensory input, whilst also providing help with praxis.
The aim of calming activities is the most important. The calming activities provide input to ensure that as children finish the circuit they are calm and centred and ready for the day as possible. If a child is partaking in a sensory circuit due to being under-aroused then do not complete too many calming activities otherwise this will reduce their arousal levels again.
Here are a few examples of calming activities that could be put into a sensory circuit: