Issues with using sensory circuits
The primary issue with using sensory circuits is that there is no one size fits all. This means that you need to tailor them to each individual. Often, you can use the same activities, but children will need to complete them differently. It’s important to consider the needs of all children in the group. Staff using sensory circuits report that they see positive changes for their children, however there is currently little research evidence to support their use.
A second issue I see, is that staff have not received any training to support their understanding of the senses and how to use sensory circuits effectively. This is easy to resolve with my online sensory aware training!
Jan Horwood has written a book called ‘Sensory Circuits’. This book is popular, but it doesn’t give a lot of information or new activity ideas if you already have some knowledge. In my opinion the structure of alerting, organising and calming does not work for every child. Depending on their arousal needs, different children need a different combination of sensory activities to prepare them for learning. Please consider this when you are setting up your circuit.
My book Success with Sensory Supports explores arousal needs in further depth. There is a checklist to help you to evaluate children’s sensory needs, this can be used to help identify whether alerting, organising or calming activities may be best for them. It also provides clear instructions on how to complete different activities, including safety considerations.
Other articles on the GriffinOT website which include activities that can be incorporated into a sensory circuit:
Finally, Twinkl has a huge number of movement, balance, beanbag, animal walk and yoga cards which you can use for visual prompts.