Monday, January 02, 2012

Wait! Apps for Sensors

Sensors are those who detect everything.  Nothing gets by them.
This makes them well suited for jobs that require noticing all the details (think airport security).  In some environments, this pattern would make it difficult to focus on important stimuli because they would be attending to even the slightest sounds, sights, taste, smells or touch.  They are distracted or bothered by things others do not even notice.  We have a clock in our conference room at school that separates the Sensors from the Bystanders.  The slight ticking sound is sure to to generate at least one comment while others are oblivious to it!

According to Winnie Dunn's classification of sensory patterns, Sensors direct their attention to the latest stimulus, drawing them away from what they were doing.  When sensitivity interferes with participation, input should still be provided but in a more structured manner.  They still need sensory input, but not random input.  They operate best in a controlled setting. 

Here are ways to structure sensory experiences for Sensors in school:
  • establish routines
  • provide feedback when drifting off
  • reduce visual distractions
  • create predictable patterns of sensory experiences
  • limit amount of information or steps provided to child at one time
  • encourage an even tempo during work time
  • select an even background noise to block out auditory distractions
Is there an app for that?  Indeed there is...many in fact.  My favorite is a simple WaitStrip, described this way:
"The WaitStrip provides a concrete visual representation of increments of time, amount of steps to be completed, number of minutes to work, number of math problems to be completed etc. It is a visual guide that allows an individual to remain on task or focused for a duration of time."

You can determine the number of circles (5, 8, 10) to coincide with the number of items or steps to complete.  When one thing is completed, touch a circle and it changes color.  It has a satisfying click sound, but you Sensor may want the sound turned off.  This is just the predictability and structure sensors need...and it is all at your fingertips!

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