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Understanding Sensory Processing

This training has been developed by the Stockport NHS Occupational Therapy team. It aims to provide parents or carers and professionals with the knowledge and strategies to help them support the development of their child or young person’s sensory processing.

The training provides an introduction to our 7 sensory systems and will discuss how our sensory systems develop and how important they are in our early years and childhood.   In addition, you will be provided with ideas and strategies to try yourselves in order to help you support your child or young person’s sensory processing needs.

We encourage you to read the ‘How to use the training video and resources’ section at the bottom of this page which will advise you on how best to use the training video and related resources.

For more information regarding the role and referral criteria of the Stockport NHS Occupational Therapy service please refer to the Stockport NHS Occupational Therapy page on the Stockport SEND Local Offer.

How to use the training video and resources

The resources on this webpage have been developed by our occupational therapy team to support you to have a greater understanding of the child’s sensory processing needs. They will provide you with a reference tool for beginning to implement sensory strategies and make changes to the environment to support the child’s participation in everyday activities.

The ‘action plan’ resource is designed to guide you in your understanding of the child’s sensory processing needs. It encourages you to reflect on your learning from the sensory processing training video to consider which sensory system may be causing difficulties, and how it impacts the child’s daily life.

By taking the time to complete the action plan and consider the child’s sensory processing needs in more detail, you will have a much better understanding of the most appropriate strategies to try with them, and crucially, how to know whether or not the strategies are working!

Remember, that ‘Sensory’ isn’t generally a stand-alone difficulty; it forms part of a bigger picture. When a child shows distress within a particular task or activity, this is generally the tip of the iceberg. We encourage you to spend time observing and reflecting on the child’s difficulties as well as paying attention to their environment, the demands placed on them, their motor skills to complete tasks, their mood on the day, how much sleep they’ve had, as well as their communication abilities.

The action plan is designed to be used with both the early years setting or school and home and we strongly advise you to work together to complete this document.  Working together will ensure you are working towards the same shared goals and outcomes for the child, with a sound basic knowledge of the current difficulties that are impacting the child/young person’s independence or engagement in tasks at this time.

The resource pack for the early years setting/school and home have been designed to support your knowledge in relation to some of the common challenges experienced by children who have differences in their sensory processing. The pack should be used alongside the online training video to help deepen your knowledge and act as a reference point.

The advice for the home and early years setting/school resource packs vary slightly in order to suit the setting and environment; however, the outline of the difficulties remains the same.