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Sensory Tools

Sensory Tools

Why should I do it:

  • Some kids’ behaviors are due primarily to sensory issues, therefore, simple sensory interventions can greatly alleviate these behavioral barriers
  • Providing students with the sensory stimulation they need results in increased work production, on task behavior, improved focus and attention, and a happier more content student
  • These interventions are fairly simple and can yield significant results/benefits for the effort and time put in
  • Expands teacher/adult/provider knowledge base for both viewing and addressing behavior issues

When should I do it:

  • When students demonstrate sensory sensitivity to stimulus like loud sounds, specific tones or noise, textures of objects, foods, and other things in the environment, light, breezes, temperature, pressure on body, clothes, too many objects in room, too much activity, etc.
  • With students who have ADD and/or ADHD
  • With students on the autism spectrum

How do I do it:

  • There are a variety of sensory tools to use with students, which will vary a great deal depending on the student’s issues
  • Some sensory tools to use include:
    • Tight fitting vests
    • Headphones for music or nature sounds like rain/water
    • Headphones to block out sound for quiet
    • Large lined paper
    • Dimmer lighting
    • Weighted objects, vests, stuffed animals, or blankets to set on lap, shoulders, or hands
    • Work corrals
    • Taping a strip of something with a certain texture on or underneath the desk, on pencil, or on other objects, like Velcro, bristles from paint brush, smooth slick surfaces, mild sand paper, rubber, cloth, fuzzy plush animals, stress balls, etc.
    • Weighted pencil ends or erasers
    • Rubber pencil grips
    • Fidget toys
    • Air seat pads
    • Sitting on a yoga ball
    • Rocking chair
    • Textured paper or raised lines
    • Tilted desk top
    • Chewing gum
    • Mini Spectra light globe
    • Mini lava lamp
    • massagers/toys that vibrate
    • Silly putty/Theraputty
    • Moldable erasers
    • Floam
    • Slime/Flubber
    • Play Doh
    • Slinky
    • Bubble wrap
    • A bin with different various pieces of textured fabric
    • Containers of rice, beans, sand, noodles, etc
    • Pillows
    • Scented markers and stickers
    • Large Motor/Whole Body
    • Mini-trampoline
    • Wiggle/balance board
    • Large blow up jumping mattress
    • Heavy lifting class/school jobs and tasks
    • frequent activities/assignments that incorporating feeling and touching things
    • Incorporating relevant sounds into assignments, lessons, activities, etc
    • Activities, assignments, and tasks incorporating visual tracking
    • Magnifying glasses
    • Foot rest
    • Exercise Bands

Resources & Support for technique:
(Items with footnotes link to external websites)


  1. Mauro, T. Ten Special-Needs School Tools. [].
  2. Dorman, C., Lehsten, L. N., Woodin, M., Cohen, R. L., Schweitzer, J. A., Tona, J. T. OT Practice, Nov 23, 2009. Using Sensory Tools: for Teens With Behavioral and Emotional Problems. [].
  3. Original Diamond Designs, Inc. Therapeutic Weighted Belt. [].
  4. KidCompanions, Sentio Life Solutions Ltd. [].
  5. Southpaw Enterprises. [].
  6. Lawson, J. (2009). Sensory Modulation and Sensory Integration Activities for Home and School. [].
  7. Therapy Shoppe. Kits! Kits! Kits!. [].
  8. SensoryTools. [].
  9. Center of Development Pediatric Therapies. In Service for Teachers on “Is it Sensory or Behavior”. [].
  10. Laird, C. SPD Expert, Chynna Laird, Reports…The Essentials For A ‘Sensational’ Learning Environment. [].
  11. Center of Development Pediatric Therapies. Sensory Diet and Classroom Modifications. [].
  12. Sensory-Processing-Disorder. Problem Behavior In The Classroom: Dealing With Children And Sensory Processing Disorders At School. [].
  13. Mauro, T. Five Ways to Help Your Child Sit Still. [].