What activities would you recommend for sensory avoiders that are in middle school and junior high?
Tweens and teens are definitely the most challenging group when addressing sensory needs. For sensory avoiders, here are a few ideas:
- If possible, try to set up their schedules so their hardest classes are in the mornings. OVER-responders are usually at their best in the morning.
- If these are kids in general education, there are several things you might try: Encouraging them to keep their books in a backpack rather than locker, so they get good proprioceptive input between classes. Make arrangements for them to have access to the gym to lift weights or walk the treadmill over their lunch period for some calming, organizing input. Encourage them to wear compression garments under their clothing, such as Under Armor sportswear. Use My Sensory Book or Tools for Teens to help them gain an understanding of their sensory needs.
- If these are kids in special education, see if they can be allowed to switch classes after everyone else, so they don’t have to put up with the chaos and crowd. Allow them to wear headphones and/or sunglasses if helpful. Consider allowing them to eat lunch somewhere other than the noisy cafeteria. Make some school jobs available to them that involve heavy work, such as pushing recycle carts, scrubbing scuff marks off the floor, setting up cafeteria tables, etc.
I hope that helps! Please let me know if I can answer any other questions for you.