What is SPD?
Sensory Processing Disorder is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses.

  • The sensory system is made up to seven systems
  • Vision
  • Touch
  • Hearing
  • Smell
  • Taste
  • Proprioception
  • Vestibular

The sensory system needs to be regulated to keep our system in balance and working efficiently together.
Recognising a pupil with sensory processing disorder
When the senses are not working efficiently together dependent on the individual needs the pupil may have a low or high arousal need.


  • Pupils with a high arousal needs
When a little feel like a lot i.e. refuses or resists messy play, resists cuddling and light touching dislikes kisses, seams in socks, rough clothes, resists bath showers, going to the beach


  • Pupils with a low arousal needs:
When a lot feels like a little i.e. doesn’t realise face and hands are dirty, touches anything and everything consistently, plays roughly with peers, may be self-abusive, doesn’t seem to feel any pain


  • How to help a pupil with sensory processing disorder
  • Use visual timetables
  • Reduce the number of tasks expected
  • Provide fidget and chewing tools.
  • Place exercise bands on the bottom of chairs to keep feet busy and close to the floor.
  • Maintain a quiet class environment and consider noise cancelling headphones if necessary.
  • Coloured overlays on bright white paper.
  • Try to keep the classroom as a free as possible from visual distractors.
  • Be flexible and try to foresee meltdowns, usually when a difficult task i.e. handwriting is required. Differentiate the task and have support from LSA if possible.
  • Allow for frequent movement breaks.
  • Use visuals along with auditory instruction.
  • Maintain a predictable routine. Make sure to let them know if any change is to happen.


How auditory-actions can support the school

  • Observation followed by individual session.
  • Programme devised to take into account pupil’s difficulties together with suggested strategies
  • Follow up advice


Websites for additional information:

  • http://www.brainbalancecenters.com/blog/2012/04/signs-and-symptoms-of-sensory-processing-disorder
  • http://www.webmd.com/children/sensory-processing-disorder#1
  • https://www.sensorysmarts.com/signs_of_spd.html


A few of the suppliers of toys/equipment for children with SPD:

  • http://www.specialneedstoys.com/uk/vestibular/Sensory-Integration-Swings-and-Suspension/
  • http://www.sensorydirect.com
  • http://www.sensorytoywarehouse.com