Castle Wood

Together, children first...

Sensory learning

At Castle Wood, we recognise that pupils who have a diagnosis of ASD, a learning disability or who are Neurodivergent have different sensory learning needs. To enable engagement in learning, children must be regulated, otherwise learning will not happen. 

As humans, we are constantly processing information through our senses to make sense of our world; sight, touch, hearing, taste and smell. Children can be sensitive to taste, touch, light, smell and sounds. 

We also recognise that there are 3 additional senses that need to be considered. 

Proprioceptive sense - ability to process information from your body muscles to know where it is in space, muscle memory and how much pressure to apply when carrying out tasks. 

Vestibular sense - this is like a spirit level for your body which is found in your inner ear and this may affect balance, co-ordination and spatial awareness. 

Interoception sense - this is the ability to know when you are hungry, thirsty, full, hot, cold, feeling unwell and need to go to the toilet. 


Activities used at Castle Wood to meet sensory needs


Weighted backpack walks

Weighted blankets

Hug vests

Deep pressure







Pushing or pulling activities

Battle ropes

Chewing (Chewlry)

Fiddle toys







Monkey bars


Lying down

Hanging upside down


Body awareness

Naming body parts

Noticing body changes – heart rate, breathing, temperature changes

Modelling what to do when a child shows signs of being too hot or too cold


Calming activities 

Due to having sensory differences, some children can become dysregulated. The child may need time to calm in a quiet space, to be away from other children or to have calming activities that support regulation. Children are supported to understand their sensory needs through modelling what is required  and when and labelling how they feel emotionally. 

Deep pressure is an effective way of reducing anxiety, stress and dysregulation  and can be used to support children with calming. Deep pressure is applied using 2 methods; either from having squeezes into the muscles in the body or by having a weighted piece of clothing such as a vest, backpack or blanket. 

Deep pressure through squeezing, can be applied into the shoulders, legs, arms, head, hands or feet.  This can be offered by adults using their hands to squeeze or by using massage rollers or therapy balls. 

Some children require different amounts of pressure and may prefer very light touch or some may want firm pressure. Staff seek consent from the child to carry this out and respond to the child's request for level of pressure and respect pupil's voice for refusal. 

The school adheres to Occupational Therapy guidance for weighted therapy. 


Zones of regulation

Due to sensory needs changing constantly throughout the day, we recognise that staff need to closely observe children and use different strategies to prevent dysregulation. Children who have difficulties with their sensory needs have a zone of regulation assessment. This captures how the child presents when they are under stimulated, calm, excited and dysregulated and what strategies are required at each stage to bring them back to the calm state. Regulation is monitored continuously throughout the day and provided for in a planned way and also offered when required based upon child's presentation. 


If you have any questions about your child's sensory needs or what resources to purchase, please speak to your child's teacher.