Understanding Why, How, and When to use a Sensory Path–Step and Say
It’s that time again! Are you ready to learn more about our Sensory Paths? The Sensory Path Company offers the only Sensory Path option on the market that is intentionally designed and sequenced to target specific areas of the sensory system and inputs in children. This series is designed to give you the information you need to make the most informed decisions for your student population. We’ve got all the resources you need to provide your students the appropriate sensory breaks that are guaranteed to regulate and reset their bodies. Our Sensory Paths will decrease sensory seeking behaviors and increase cognition rates.
Last time we went in depth on our famous Push Wall. Today let’s dig into the Sensory Path original “Step and Say” activity. This element is featured in nearly ALL of our full Sensory Path Packages. The Step and Say is especially useful for the younger students who are still developing the neuro-pathways within the brain necessary for bilateral coordination.
Why is bilateral coordination an important development skill for young students? There are many activities that occur in the classroom that require it! As task as small as writing can be really difficult for students who haven’t yet fully developed the left-right brain connection. You may also notice some children struggle with using scissors, rulers, performing self-care tasks such as buttoning or zipping clothing, or independently opening their snacks. All of which require left and right side coordination, which is known as bilateral coordination. Students who struggle with bilateral coordination are more likely to experience frustration and discouragement in an academic setting. These students can fall behind their peers developmentally. Many of these students may avoid these challenging tasks, which can further delay development.
Delayed bilateral coordination can hinder the next stages of neurological development. Bilateral coordination is closely linked to the proprioceptive system. Students struggling with this skill may also exhibit signs of proprioceptive disruption. When there is dysregulation in the proprioceptive system, students struggle with bodily awareness. This can lead to increasing sensory seeking behaviors to orient themselves in space. These types of sensory seeking behaviors can manifest in undesirable distractions in the academic setting. It can be extremely frustrating for the student, their teacher, and their parents!
The good news is that there are targeted exercises you can do to help students strengthen bilateral coordination and the Step and Say Sensory Path Element is the perfect tool. This exercise is a bilateral “step and say” activity. This multi-sensory activity is designed to challenge students to slowly take BIG left-right-left-right steps while saying the corresponding number. This exercise challenges both sides of the brain to work together effectively. It is important to remind students to slowly and purposefully step each foot while accurately calling out each number.
We typically recommend placing this activity at the start of your Sensory Path. The Step and Say engages your students mentally and physically to warm up and push their bodies and neurological system for a total reset by completing the entire Sensory Path.
To wrap up, you may be wondering when this exercise is useful. Anytime you notice students starting to fade or disengage with your lecture is a great que that your students may need a sensory break. A visit to The Sensory Path can quickly turn your students’ day around. Any child who has been struggling with any part of classroom activities can benefit from some sensory stimulation. Each student is unique and their individual needs will reflect that diversity. Not all students will exhibit disruptive or blatantly obvious signs that they’re experiencing dysregulation. Allowing ALL students the opportunity to reset with a sensory break can address sensory issues that you may not be aware of. Helping develop and strengthen bilateral coordination and proprioceptive awareness in your students will directly improve their academic performance. Repeated exposure to exercises such as the Sensory Path Step and Say activities will provide the perfect opportunity to assist with the whole-child development.
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