A new Sensory Service has been launched in Sheffield. It aims to help children aged 3-16 years who have sensory processing difficulties that are having an impact on daily life.
Children with sensory processing difficulties have trouble organising and responding to information from the senses. They might try to avoid certain smells, loud noises, flickering lights or uncomfortable clothing, and get overwhelmed and upset when they can’t. Others might seek specific sensory input, for example by constantly touching objects, chewing on their clothes, staring at spinning objects or fidgeting a lot. Sensory processing difficulties are common in children with autism and other developmental conditions.
The Sensory Service is a newly commissioned team based at the Ryegate Children’s Centre that is aiming to help parents, school staff and young people in Sheffield have a better understanding of sensory processing. It expands on the existing sensory workshops on offer to parents at Ryegate. The specialist team have been developing two sides to the service: one aimed at supporting young people and families, and the other aimed at helping schools.
The team will be delivering an online training package for schools and other supporting services, and are hoping to support all schools in Sheffield to be ‘sensory accessible’. The training will help SENCOs and other professionals to understand the sensory needs of their pupils and if needed, develop a tailored plan to address particular areas of difficulty. For those children who are finding the school environment particularly challenging, such as children at risk of exclusion, the team will be able to work directly with schools.
Alongside these resources the team have developed a ‘virtual therapy area’ that contains lots of information, ideas and strategies to help families make sense of their child’s sensory needs and know how to help. The area is freely accessible online, so families don’t need to wait for a referral to access support. After using the resources, families can complete an online referral form to request advice about any particular issues which haven’t been covered in the materials.
For more information and to access the online resources, follow this link.