Sensory Tools at the Workspace

In Morris County, educators Theresa Feron and Megan Petersen were awarded a continuation grant of $9,963 for more sensory tool option to support student learning at the Madison schools. The original program, Sensory Seating in the Classroom, provided tools that continue to be well received by teachers and staff in the district. An analysis of the surveys by teachers using the sensory tools showed a marked increase in student attention to task and completion of work when using the tools. Small class disruptions occurred when there were not adequate amounts of sensory tools for the number of students interested in using them.

The tools will allow students to move and receive tactile, proprioceptive, and kinesthetic input while at their workplace to promote attention to task and completion of work. The occupational therapists will collaborate with classroom teacher to assess specific needs of students at their workspace in the areas of postural control and sensory needs impacting learning. Students will receive the specific sensory tool based on the need determined by the teacher and the OTs. Professional development and staff training are provided by the OTs to staff in district to promote carryover of strategies and resources to support students in both general and special education settings. The occupational therapists will monitor which tools are being used along with the effectiveness of the sensory tools, using a survey including a rating scale to measure attention to task and work completion from both teach and student perspectives. Data will continue to be collected in all grades and schools. This data will also be shared with faculty and staff in district so that they are aware of these resources to support their students.

Continuation of this grant beyond a second year of funding is being explored through partnerships with the local education foundation, individual school budgets, individual school PTOs, and the Special Services department in district. Other out of district funding is also being explored.

A survey will be distributed to teachers and staff in district to measure which tools are being used, the frequency of tool use in specific grades, and attention to task and work completion from teacher and student perspectives while using each specific tool. Data will then be graphed to show results and will continue to be collected in all grades and schools.

For more information, contact:

Theresa Feron, Project Coordinator
(973) 593-3178 (school)