15 Methods for Academics To Scale back Sensory Overload

Paired image of two different ways to reduce sensory overload for teachers

Academics are uncovered to quite a lot of sensory stimuli each day. Pre-Okay hugs that come as much as our knees. Sunshine glinting off puddles at recess. Getting a whiff of the pages from a e book from 1983 in our classroom library.

In fact, not all sensory experiences at college are constructive.

The screeching din of a full cafeteria. A rogue foam dodgeball nailing you within the facet of the top. The distinctly center college–age odor of onion-y physique odor plus any variety of cloying physique sprays. The day the science workforce does a balloon automotive experiment.

Whereas sensory overwhelm is a time period typically related to individuals who have sensory-processing points or sensitivities because of situations like ASD, ADHD, or SPD (sensory processing dysfunction), sensory overwhelm can occur to anybody. How are you aware your senses are overwhelmed?

  • You is perhaps extraordinarily irritable.
  • You is perhaps unable to focus.
  • You may need a powerful urge to take away no matter stimuli is sending you into overdrive.
  • You may need a powerful urge to take away your self from the scenario.

Sound acquainted?

I polled a bunch of lecturers for his or her prime options on lowering sensory overload whereas at college, they usually got here by means of with a ton of responses. Take a look at their teacher-tested options for tactics you may scale back the stress on every of your 5 senses, in addition to assist handle conditions that create multi-sensory challenges.

1. Noise-reducing ear tools for sophistication, cafeteria, assemblies, and so forth.

“I put on Loop earplugs! Typically I even put on my full-on over-ear ear defenders. I’ve persistent migraines and am additionally neurodivergent. I clarify to my college students that they’re not earbuds or headphones and that I’m not listening to music—somewhat, typically I simply want to show down the quantity somewhat on every part. Sure, I can nonetheless hear you (they prefer to whisper to check this, haha).”

—Ante S.

Purchase it: Loop Quiet earplugs on Amazon

“Ear plugs throughout prep blocks and assemblies.”


2. Play nature sounds, white or pink noise, or beta waves

“Nature sounds. I could possibly be imagining it, however I swear my lessons are quieter when I’ve them taking part in through the day.”

—Katie W.

3. Fidgets (for lecturers!)

“I’ve a peaceful strip steel tag on my lanyard that I can fidget with when anxious.”

—Ante S.

Purchase it: Calm strips and calm strips with steel tags on Amazon

4. Find time for being outdoors

“OK, admittedly I’m further crunchy, however I follow grounding day-after-day throughout my lunch break. Sneakers off, stand on the grass, set a timer for 10 minutes. Eyes closed and deep breaths. My workforce and college students give me a lot grief for it, however I swear it does wonders!”

—Georgia L.

“Discovering a quiet spot to sit down outdoors within the solar.”

—Alex F.

5. Uncover soothing routines to your sense of contact

“I’ve ASD and have realized that my sense of contact is my prime strategy to relax. I’ve a heated blanket for winter months and a light-weight blanket for hotter months that I wrap up in throughout my planning interval or after I’m seated. In my desk, I preserve fidgets, “crunchy” slime, and a neck wrap I can pop within the microwave. Typically only a break to clean my palms with fancy cleaning soap I deliver from house is sufficient.”

—Julie F.

Purchase it: Neck wrap on Amazon

6. Hold a soothing beverage inside attain

“Tea all day.”


“Peppermints adopted by chilly water! For some motive this … IDK, drowns out every part else? It’s like a tough reset for my mind.”

—Erin O.

7. Reset your olfactories

“Open the home windows (or go outdoors throughout your break) to scale back the odor of teenager.”

—Catie G.

“I preserve an essential-oils curler to odor after I want a peaceable second.”

—Dani P.

Purchase it: Important-Oils Curler Set on Amazon

8. Make modifications to your lighting

“Simply say no to overhead lights.”

—Marjorie L.

“I exploit rice paper balls, lamps, and daylight for lighting.”


“Dim your Smartboard.”

—Isabel B.

9. Attempt to eradicate wall litter

“Don’t overcrowd the partitions. Loads of clean house. That is good for me AND the scholars.”

—Cami C.

Take a look at extra minimalist classroom design suggestions right here!

10. Create a soothing atmosphere to your prep interval and breaks

“My prep interval is sacred. Quiet time, lights dimmed.”


“Not permitting any youngsters in my room throughout lunch or my planning interval.”


“Studying a enjoyable novel on my break. Stored me off my screens and gave me one thing common to look ahead to.”

—Allie R.

11. Go for a solo lunch

“I’ve needed to resort to quiet lunches as a substitute of consuming with different lecturers. It offers me time to decompress.”

—Jacki B.

12. Educate classroom routines and practices that scale back sensory overload

“Sturdy techniques in my room for motion and voice degree!”

—Beth A.

“DEAR (Drop Every little thing And Learn) time the place the lights are off, they’re quiet, and I’m consuming espresso and resting at my desk. Repeat as needed.”

—Reale Okay.

“Have college students write me a be aware and place it on my desk so I can tackle it when I’ve a second as a substitute of pausing the lesson or having to handle it whereas instructing. College students really feel heard and are capable of clarify, and I can tackle it by myself time.”

—Emily H.

13. Know your scheduling limits

“I might get so wired after I had guardian conferences scheduled simply earlier than my subsequent class. Even when it wasn’t a tense assembly, the stress of getting a gathering and sophistication back-to-back would completely wreck the remainder of my day. I started solely providing a time slot to folks that gave me 10 minutes to wind down from the earlier class and 10 minutes to collect myself earlier than the following class.”

—Sarah Okay.

“I’ve a instructor who advocated for herself to get a hallway publish vs. cafeteria throughout lunch—so good to know your self and ask for what you want! (We fortunately granted this request!)”

—Maggie M.

14. Set boundaries together with your college students

“I feel it’s a very good follow to set norms and bounds for your self together with your college students. ‘Right here’s a good way to be away from my face once you come ask me a query.’ ‘Right here’s how I’d such as you to ask a query. I don’t prefer to be tapped on the shoulder.’ Then they really feel empowered to set boundaries too.”

—Julie P.

“Actually, I inform the youngsters that I would like to manage my physique as a result of I’m beginning to get deregulated. After which we breathe and rely collectively in order that we are able to ALL get ourselves grounded and controlled once more.”


15. Reevaluate the way in which every class begins

“Delicate begin! First 10 minutes they’ll end/do the homework, ask me questions, draw, chat, no matter, so long as it’s calm.”

—Jacqueline W.

“I actually attempt to have youngsters be silent through the entry activity. Helps with a centered begin to class and lets me get my head on straight and take attendance.”

—Hannah F.


The great thing about these methods is that lots of them may help with sensory points your college students may need too.

Right here’s to making a calmer, extra soothing classroom and college expertise.

How do you scale back sensory overwhelm for your self or your college students? Tell us your ideas within the feedback.

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