Mainstream Classrooms Despite SPD

Every school year proves to be different than the one before; this year is no different. This year though has proven to hold an interesting change; J’s teacher wants him.  

Now, that simple statement is convoluted and confusion. I’m sure some of you might be saying ,”of course J’s teacher wants him” or “does that mean his other teacher’s didn’t want him” or “which teacher are you talking about? The New Ms. SSN or his ‘assigned’ or ‘home room’ teacher”?  Well…this year, I mean all of those.

No assigned teacher has ever discouraged J’s participation, but they weren’t openly enthusiastic as his current assigned teacher, “3rd Grade Mrs. S.” is. She told me…”I want him in my classroom! I’m his teacher. I want to teach him. I want him included. I want him in here as much as possible!” Unprompted, clearly unscripted, his assigned teacher “wants” him. What’s makes this even more appealing is her classroom environment.

The overhead fluorescent lights are OFF. She feels they’re too bothersome and hard on the eyes, distracting to kids. She uses the sunlight that streams in from the windows and accenting ‘party’ or ‘christmas lights’ (white) to give a little extra soft glow. She has other soft colored lights (like lava lamps only not) placed around the room. Soft sitting areas with pillows. No desks preferring ‘work tables’. She also prefers kids to find a place that’s comfortable for them to work in. She uses scented oils, with each student choosing their own after an okay from parents. And, she strictly keeps her room calm and quiet. Reportedly, VERY strictly. Oh, and she hosts a ‘Yoga Class’ for all students every Wednesday morning before school.

Though she is not for every parent, every family or student, I can’t think of a better person / teacher / opportunity to help J get into the mainstream classroom for a longer period of time, or for more often. Most if not all of his sensory “distractions” are taken away. The only other thing he needs is something to focus on that’s at his level. For instance, the New Ms. SSN has worked on it this way: he has learned to ‘read’ books on tape. She is having him learn to be in the main classroom, reading his book on tape (with headphones) during the classroom’s reading time. Slowly, through partnership, The New Ms. SSN and 3rd Grade Mrs. S are working together for his increased inclusion.

How do sensory issues influence your child’s classroom participation?

If you’re still considering how to work with sensory issues and the school setting, I invite you to download this complimentary article from Autism Asperger’s Digest Magazine, “Sensory Smart School Solutions”.

(This is not a sponsored post. AADigest Magazine passed this along to me so that I may pass this along to you, if I choosed. No compensation of any sort has been promised for this article).

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Gina St. Aubin
Wife, Mom, Writer & Advocate of the physically and developmentally challenged. Founding Editor of
Gina St. Aubin

Gina St. Aubin

Wife, Mom, Writer & Advocate of the physically and developmentally challenged. Founding Editor of

0 thoughts on “Mainstream Classrooms Despite SPD

  • @NeverSubmit@xanga – Totally agree!  I am not on the spectrum, but I am migraine prone and have been so my entire life.  Artificial scents of any kind typically wreak havoc on me.  BLEGH, nothing I hate more besides artificially flavored food, which does just about the same to me.

  • Scented oils are a HUGE no-no for me.  In fact, any sort of artificial attempt to influence the smell of a room does so for the worse.  Usually whatever original smells that so offended everybody else are still there, and the new smell is naturally much stronger and far more offensive.  There are good smells, but these are generally natural items, such as food items that have been cooked in an actual kitchen, or plain unscented candles.  I remember entering many places that already smelled bad enough and when my offense was noted by adults, I was attacked with air freshener.  Not literally an attack, but it was very unpleasant.  On the other hand, when I was older I began to enter homes where people burned incense, and some of that was pretty nasty but most of it was alright.  In general, though, most people’s taste in scents is untrustworthy, and adding strong smells to an environment that is otherwise sensory-controlled can be big enough to totally negate everything else. 


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