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Sensory Circuits

Sensory Circuits is a sensory motor skills programme that helps children and young people become more organised and achieve the ‘just right’ level of alertness they need to help them prepare for the day’s learning.

The below information is to help schools and parents with setting up Sensory Circuits.

The idea is to start with Alerting activities then move to the Organising section and finally to the Calming section. To have a positive effect, these activities are intended to be done on a regular basis to help prepare the children for the day’s learning. 

  • Children/young people must be supervised. Do not force, but encourage their participation. It is important to consider that each child’s tolerance is different therefore we need to work at their own pace.
  • Ideally, a child/young person should spend up to 5 minutes per station, on different activities. Some children may need more time in the alerting or calming section to enable them to be more organised and prepared for the day’s learning or activities.
  • Use a visual strip/task strip if this will help the child/young person to go through the activities in a structured way.

Alerting section

  • Jumping on the spot
  • Jumping on a trampette
  • Sit and bounce on a gym ball
  • Star jumps
  • Marching
  • Step-ups
  • Skipping
  • Lie over a gym ball on his tummy and weight bear through arms

Organising section

  • Throw a beanbag or a ball at a target or into a bucket (can be done in standing or while sitting on a gym ball)
  • Jumping through hoops (3-5 hoops)
  • Balancing on wobble boards or walk along a gym bench
  • Log rolling - with hands clasped and arms stretched out above head
  • Commando crawling
  • Crawling through a tunnel
  • Animal walks eg crab walk, bunny hops
  • Scooter board – Sit or lie on tummy with feet off the floor

Calming section

The activities suggested below include proprioceptive (deep pressure) and heavy work activities. These activities are very important as they provide sensory input to make sure that the child finishes the circuit feeling more organised and ready for the day ahead.

  • In a seated position, place your palms together, imitating praying position. Push your palms against each other for a few seconds, and then relax for a few seconds. Repeat 5 times. Place hands on the side of the chair (do not use office chairs) and lift bottom off the seat by straightening arms. Repeat 5 times.
  • Parent or teacher stands behind the student and presses firmly down through the shoulders using the palms of the hands (fingers together). Maintain the pressure for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
  • For older children, stretch a theraband or resistance bands in front of their body or above their head. Repeat 5 times.

Note: Remember the aim is to achieve lots of heavy work input to the joints and muscles, so decide on the number of repetitions accordingly.