Try to describe the significant differences in their sensory processing: the sense or senses involved; whether it is over sensitivity (hypersensitivity) or under sensitivity (hyposensitivity) and any known contexts in which there are issues. For example:
Child X is sensitive to smells and can feel sick when exposed to strong or unpleasant smells. Child X will often refuse to use public or school toilets and can sometimes struggle to concentrate in class because of the distracting affect of smells. This is particularly so when the grass is cut, when staff or other students wear strong perfumes etc; proximity to smokers or children of smokers and anyone with poor personal hygiene. Child X can also be reluctant to be in the hall when food is being cooked in the canteen.
What actions are necessary to help the student manage their sensory needs?
In this section record any known strategies that have been found to be effective in managing their needs. You should also describe what the context looks like when the student is in sensory balance. Advice must also be realistic about what can be achieved to control the environmental exposure. For example, minimising exposure to loud noises is sensible for those hypersensitive to sound. However, the reality is that it is impossible to isolate the child from everyday sounds and noises without compromising their freedom and opportunities.
See the completed sensory diet plan example below.
Other strategies and support
What other strategies have been necessary?
What actions are required when the student has reached the point of sensory overload or shutdown?
How can we avoid an escalation to a more critical incident?
Meeting the individual needs of each child with sensory needs can be challenging. As they mature and understand their needs more fully they can begin to manage this for themselves. However, particularly in school settings, this requires them to be empowered to do so. This may, for example, include removing themselves from the classroom, hall or playground during contexts where they are experiencing overload of their senses.
For other students, their particular sensory needs may require more adult management or the need for specific resources. For example, a child who has a high threshold before they become aware of sounds will often need direct verbal prompt before the teacher addresses the whole class.