Many children with autism have difficulty processing sensory stimuli and respond with unusual or atypical behaviours.
Sensory circuits provide an opportunity to experience a variety of physical activities to support children to achieve an appropriate state of alertness in a controlled setting.
The circuit is a sequence of activities that provide the child with the right type of sensory input in order to calm, organise, or alert them . This supports the child for the day ahead. The circuit consists of three sections ‘Alerting’ ‘Organising’ and ‘Calming’ .
The circuit should take between 10 – 15 minuets. Some children may need more time on different activities.
Please see the sensory circuits video below.
Section one - Alerting Stage
The alerting section of sensory circuits is to provide vestibular and proprioceptive stimulation within a controlled setting. This prepares and awakens the brain for learning.
Vestibular stimulation - The vestibular processing system plays an essential role in the relationship between our body, gravity and the physical world. It provides us with information about where our body is in space. It is responsible for informing us whether our body is stationary or moving, how fast it is moving, and in what direction.
Proprioceptive stimulation – Proprioception is the sense of self-movement and body position. Where our body is in space, for example if you are stepping onto soft sand or hard concreate.
The alerting stage includes activities to make the head change direction rapidly i.e. bouncing, jumping spinning.
Activities at home
Jumping on a trampoline
Bouncing or rolling on physio ball, space hopper, peanut ball.
Spinning (dizzy dinosaurs).
Section Two - Organising Section
The organising section supports focus and concentration. This section provides motor sensory processing, balance and timing that challenges the child. This enables the child to plan their approach and to do more than one thing at a time in a sequence or order .
Activities in school
Walk across the bench
Activities at home
Use coloured tape to create lines and zigzags on the floor for your child to follow.
Use paper/card to cut circles to use as stepping stones.
Play tunnel – use a children's play tunnel for your child to crawl through.
Section Three - Calming Section
The calming section includes proprioceptive and deep pressure activities. The calming activities provide input to ensure the child leaves the circuit calm, centred and ready for the day ahead.
Activities you can do at home.
Encourage the child to lay on the floor/mat and roll a peanut ball/physio ball over them. This give the child a deep pressure massage.
Lying under a weighted blanket
Offering the child a deep pressure massage.
If you require any more information or ideas to support your child in partaking in a form of sensory circuits at home please email ;