Are you struggling to find ways to support students who have difficulty with self-regulation? As a school-based occupational therapist (OT), I often support students [and their teachers and families!] with regulation skills. Often, use of sensory-based tools can be an effective way to regulate one’s body and emotions. The hard part is, we aren’t inside our students’ bodies! They need to determine for themselves what makes them feel good and ready to learn! How can we support development of that skill? Introducing a variety of strategies to the student, and empowering them to request what they need is a great first step!
That’s where the Simple Sensory Self-Regulation Toolkit comes to the rescue! For an overview of the product, check out this blog on how to use visuals for self-regulation. If you’ve already decided that this resource is for you, follow along with me as I prep this resource to introduce to some of my OT students!
Self-Regulation Prep Step 1: Request Card Visuals
The Simple Sensory Self-Regulation Toolkit comes with 45 pre-made visuals with real life photographs that indicate a variety of sensory-based strategies for self-regulation! Print these out, laminate them, and cut them out! I then attached velcro dots [affiliate link] to the backs of each one to make a full set. For storage, consider laminating a piece of card-stock, attaching rows of velcro and then hole punching it to store in a visuals binder! Check out this blog on 5 ways to stop visual pieces for some more ideas!
I also made some of my own!
I have a student who sometimes needs a big hug as a calm down strategy. This gives him the calming deep pressure sensory input. To start to build independence, and to decrease his need for an adult to self-regulate, he has been using a large stuffed animal instead. The soft tactile sensation also supports his self-regulation! I created my own request card visual for him and added to the mix!
Self- Regulation Prep Step 2: Choice Boards
The Simple Sensory Self-Regulation Toolkit comes with a bunch of different versions of choice boards. Consider how many choices your student will reasonably be able to select from [and know that you can always build up to more choices once you know what works well]. I often let the student select their own choice board, and I love that there is a version that can be customized with their name!
Self-Regulation Prep Step 3: Signs & Checklists
Optional prep items include the Sensory Rules Signs, Sensory Steps Lists and Sensory Steps Checklists. These along with the labels are great ways to provide written guidelines for others who will likely be implementing this strategy with students. As the OT, I often help to create these resources/programs, but then train other staff [such as our great paraeducators and teachers] on how to encourage their use throughout each school day. Generally, having written guidelines like those listed above is very helpful! You might even want to consider printing them on a quarter of a page and keeping a little keyring with the rules/steps for easy access!
Self-Regulation Prep Step 4: Set up!
Where can I use the toolkit?
I love getting creative with how to use Simply Special Ed resources! This toolkit seems like it would best be used with individual students because it is so individualized. However, what if we used it for a full classroom? I could see this resource making a good bulletin board on classroom or sensory room walls! Even in a calm down corner, it would be great!
For more self-regulation resources, check out the following:
- Books for teaching self-regulation
- How to use visuals for self-regulation
- Supporting sensory seekers in gen ed classrooms
- Ideas for a calm down center