Sheffield Sensory Service

These training resources have been developed by the Sensory Service at the Ryegate Children’s Centre, which is part of Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. The Sensory Service team includes Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Clinical Psychology and Speech & Language Therapy. The service aims to help parents / carers, school staff and young people to have a better understanding of sensory processing and how this impacts on every day life.

For more information about the Sensory Service and what it offers, you can download the Parent - Carer Information Leaflet, which you can also pass on to any families who you feel would benefit from accessing the service.

1. How To Use These Training Resources

It is recommended that you work through these training resources in order. The training will introduce you to theories around sensory processing and will help you to understand more about where challenges can occur for children and young people in school who have sensory processing difficulties. The resources will guide you on how reduce barriers to education for pupils with sensory processing difficulties by introducing strategies to make your school more sensory accessible. You will then learn how to create an individual Sensory Plan for learners who need more tailored support.

These resources are primarily aimed at supporting children who are neuro-divergent; for example, children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), or Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), or a combination of these. However, this training will also be relevant for children or young people in your school who have a different diagnosis or even no diagnosis at all, but who present with sensory needs in school.

The training resources have been divided into ‘Primary Education’ and ‘Secondary Education’. Please click on the relevant button below to access the Sensory Service training resources for your phase.


Primary Schools Secondary Schools
2. Understanding the Link Between Sensory, Communication & Anxiety

When we think about sensory processing, we always need to consider it alongside other areas of a child's development. For children who are neuro-divergent, we know that sensory processing is really closely linked to their communication, as well as their emotional regulation. Sometimes what appears to be an emotional challenge for a child, is actually related to how they communicate - or how they are experiencing the sensory world around them. This video introduces the links between sensory processing, communication and emotional regulation. We recommend that you begin by watching the below video, as this will help you keep the whole child in mind when learning more about sensory processing.

Watch the Understanding the Link Between Sensory, Communication & Anxiety’ training video.

Good Autism Practice Guidelines

The AET Good Autism Practice Full Report and Practitioner Guide presents principles of ‘good autism practice’. These summarise the ethos, values and practice that inform inclusive education for all children and young people. Eight principles are identified, which are linked to the new Ofsted Framework, the SEND Code of Practice and the Teacher Standards. The Guide is designed to support staff in Early Years settings, Schools and Post-16 provision to develop effective practice. The case studies serve to illustrate the eight principles.

Quick Quiz

Complete the quick quiz to access your certificate.

3. Sensory Awareness Training

In this training section, you will learn more about the theory of sensory processing to help you identify and understand the needs of pupils in your school. The video explores concepts around sensory preferences, including reflecting on you own sensory needs and choices. The training introduces some basic strategies that you can use to make school more accessible for children with sensory processing difficulties.

Watch the ‘Sensory Awareness Training: Primary’ video

Regulating Activities Resource

The following activities are designed to help pupils to stay more regulated throughout the school day. The Sensory Awareness training video explains how and why these sort of activities can be so important for children with sensory processing difficulties, so it is recommended that you watch this training session first.

How To Use These Resources

Building in regulating activities throughout the school day can support children to stay more calm and alert. Time-tabling ‘sensory breaks’ roughly every two hours will help children to sustain their regulation. The idea of these activities is not to wait until a child reaches crisis point, but instead to implement them as a strategy to try and prevent the child from getting to that stage.

Regulating Activities: Seated

If you find there is limited time, space and staffing available during the school day, the following seated activities are likely to be the most achievable. You can integrate these using a whole-class approach.

Watch the Regulated Activities Seated video and download the accompanying handout for these seated activities.

Regulating Activities: Using a Gym Ball

The following activities utilise a gym ball. Gym balls can be purchased relatively cheaply, and if you have the space and staffing, these are highly recommended as effective regulating activities to carry-out with children during sensory breaks.

Watch the ‘Regulating Activities: Using a Gym Ball’ video and download the accompanying handout for these gym ball activities.

Sensory Circuits

Sensory circuits are a great way to help children to re-set and to achieve a calm-alert state in readiness for the school day. A whole circuit should take no more than approximately 15 minutes to complete. Aim to build these into your daily routine in school if possible. You could also consider doing these as a whole class or small group activity.

Download a simple Sensory Circuit programme.

Activities throughout the day

Heavy work and physical activities throughout the day can also support regulation. The Sensory Awareness Training video (same video link as the others) provides some suggestions of how you could integrate these into the school day. For example; running an errand carrying heavy books; helping set up chairs; using climbing equipment in P.E. or break-times.

The ‘Sensory Accessible Schools’ training section (coming soon) provides further practical strategies and ideas on how to support regulation for children with sensory processing difficulties.

Quick Quiz

Complete the quick quiz to access your certificate.

4. Sensory Accessible Schools [Coming Soon]
5. Creating an Individual Sensory Plan: Assessment [Coming Soon]
6. Creating an Individual Sensory Plan: Interpreting Questionnaires & Completing the Plan [Coming Soon]
7. Creating an Individual Sensory Plan: Implementing the Plan [Coming Soon]
8. SSG Exemplification Document: Sensory Processing Difficulties [Coming Soon]
9. How to Request Further Support from the Sensory Service Team [Coming Soon]