Unlocking the Door: Keys to Using a Sensory Path for the Best Results​

How to Use a Sensory Path

Unlocking the Door: Keys to Using a Sensory Path for the Best Results

Who can benefit from using The Sensory Path?

The movements in The Sensory Path can benefit almost all students. Many of the moves the children are directed to perform are familiar. Through bending, stepping, visual tracking, reaching, stretching, jumping, skipping, squatting, etc., The Sensory Path uses familiar, developmentally appropriate moves to provide specific sensory input.

Consult with the Physical Therapy team for students with limited mobility, visual, muscular, skeletal, or specific disabilities that may need adaptive series of movements so they can participate during group Sensory Path times.

Kid uses sensory path push wall to reset internal sensory system

Incorporating The Sensory Path into the school's architecture of inclusivity sends a powerful message: every student's learning preferences and needs are acknowledged and valued.

Welcome to The Sensory Path where you will step, squat, jump, push, leap and hop so that your brain can think, focus, and make great choices
What is the expected outcome and purpose of The Sensory Path?

The Sensory Paths in schools are innovative tools designed to enrich the learning environment by combining a fun brain break with specific sensory-targeted movements. The Sensory Path uses research-based evidence, as each path is carefully planned.

 Adorned with vibrant colors and engaging school-friendly themes, The Sensory Path invites students to hop, stretch, balance, and push as they navigate through movements designed to stimulate and engage the internal sensory systems. 

A Sensory Path embraces the idea that cognitive development is closely tied to providing proper sensory development through physical movement. Sensory Paths offer an engaging platform for students to activate the communication between their bodies and minds, paving the way for enhanced concentration, memory retention, and overall academic performance. Incorporating The Sensory Path into the school’s architecture of inclusivity sends a powerful message: every student’s learning preferences and needs are acknowledged and valued.

Where should schools place The Sensory Path to make the most significant impact?

Integrating Sensory Paths within the school environment fosters inclusivity and supports students with special educational needs. Sensory Paths are best placed down the center of hallways where students travel and can access the path as they transition through their daily schedule.

Often, in schools with a high population of emotionally dysregulated children, placing an additional Sensory Path at the end of a hallway or between areas of the building with a limited audience may offer a safe space for therapists to work with students who are struggling to regulate their emotions. 

Kid jumps through large space decals in school hallway
When is the best time for my class to use The Sensory Path?

The Sensory Path does not require a significant amount of time for a student or group of students to move through the movement series. It is essential that students should not feel rushed when performing the movements in The Sensory Path; thus, pacing students with a few steps between each other should be observed and monitored.

 The amount of time budgeted for an entire class depends on the enrollment per class. Each area should be limited to two students at a time per section, with at most 10 -12 students at a time on the entire course. For a class of 20, it should take no more than 15 minutes to move all students through, allowing time for each student to move through all the path’s movements.

Student Hops on alphabet hopscotch down school hall

Teachers have found that offering Sensory Path movement breaks between times students have been required to listen and learn and times students are required to perform academic tasks, such as writing and math, helps significantly reduce the number of interruptions to address behaviors.

Teachers often try to offer students a “brain break” in the classroom by turning on music or videos that reinforce whole group or math concepts, allowing the whole class an opportunity to jump around, dance, and sing with the music, which is great. Although the students have been offered a moment to “get their wiggles out” or a “brain break,” the movements are not as structured and offer students options to move a lot or not at all if they so choose.

Students with sensory processing disorders, such as Autism, might actually become overstimulated or quick to disengage entirely because their visual, auditory, proprioceptive, and vestibular systems are getting too much information at once, on top of the tension that had already formed from the prior group listening time. “Wiggle breaks” in the classroom are a great way to engage students in a multisensory physical activity that reinforces learning, making the classroom a fun space. However, these unstructured, nonspecific movements do not provide the same specific sensory input that The Sensory Paths are designed to address.

More Opportunities for Structured Movement Helps

Another great time for students to benefit from a trip through The Sensory Path is when they are moving to “Specials” such as Art, Library, Music, or additional support classes such as Speech or Academic Resources. These additional classes often have limited time and different personnel available to address disruptive behaviors. These classrooms also have strict rules to keep children safe while providing a structured, creative, and fun experience.

Less often, when students attend a preferred class, such as a computer or technology class, The Sensory Path may not be necessary. These classes offer an independent isolated experience where the student is engaged in an activity independently of one another, wearing headphones at individual computers, which offers a calming down experience. Also, if students attend an environment that provides physical exercise, such as PE or recess, The Sensory Path is optional for them to join their class successfully.

Returning to the classroom after lunch is also a great time to use The Sensory Path. Because the child’s digestive system is actively engaged in the involuntary digestive process, plus the fact they are moving from the socially interactive environment of the lunchroom and back to the more formal classroom environment, this transition time is a great moment to offer a “reset and regroup” movement opportunity that will provide proper sensory input to help calm the body and brain.

Without this moment of sensory realignment and mental preparedness, sensory-sensitive students may have difficulty concentrating or engaging in classroom tasks effectively because the body’s internal systems are busy, and the child is required to self-regulate the transition with underdeveloped self-regulation skills.  Limiting an opportunity to reset and realign their brain and body, the sensory needy student’s ability to focus, pay attention to a task, and comprehension may be delayed or completely shut down.

How should The Sensory Path be implemented to ensure success?

Like with any new experience, the teacher sets the tone for expectations of newly learned skills. Introducing the Sensory Path movements to the student should be done in a positive, fun way so that the students are taught the moves for each section correctly.

By explaining what each move should do and how their body will feel during and afterward, the teacher provides the child with what their body should experience and why it is essential to do the movement correctly.  The teacher controls the narrative for the success of the time spent on The Sensory Path.

Showing children how they should move through the Sensory Path by adjusting or demonstrating moves that might be done incorrectly during the initial introduction conveys to the student that each movement matters and is purposeful. Teachers should emphasize that The Sensory Path is a unique space and that the moves help teach their brain and body to work better.

It is also important to stress to students that this time is not for socialization or silly play; fostering opportunities for peer support and praise to fellow students who have completed a challenging task is encouraged. Special needs students often learn best when proper peer mentoring is given, so teachers should encourage students to be good examples for their friends.

Focus on being your best mindfulness decal for schools

Why The Sensory Path, Inc.?

As discussed in this article, The Sensory Path is a powerful tool for sensory input, behavior management, and emotional regulation. When used properly, schools will see a drastic improvement in the academic performance of their students. 

In order to obtain the positive benefits of a Sensory Path, it’s important that your school work with trusted partners who can provide quality materials with carefully planned movements. All of The Sensory Path, Inc. materials come with movement guides and instructions for your faculty and staff to properly integrate Sensory Paths into the school day. 

The Sensory Path, Inc. is the only company providing genuine Sensory Paths that have been designated a Certified Autism Resource by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). The IBCCES board has carefully reviewed our products and determined that they meet the criteria in the Areas of Autism Competency.   

Want to learn more?

Visit our Sensory Path School page where you’ll find lots of educational resources on our products! 

If you’d like to speak with someone directly, call our office at 662-607-0448. We’d love to speak with you more about the many benefits of our products! 

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