What is the current level of knowledge and confidence of mainstream school SENCOs in sensory integration theory and using sensory strategies within education?

Jenny Quinn , Katy Pedlow, C M Bleakley

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Abstract

The aims of the study were: to identify the number of SENCOs who have received specific training on sensory integration. To determine the understanding of the eight senses and sensory integration theory and sensory strategies. Determine any common gaps in knowledge or misconceptions. Fifty-five surveys were completed. 40% of respondents had received training on sensory processing. There was a significant chi-squared correlation between those that had received training and those that stated they did not know or made guesses about what the vestibular and proprioceptive senses are important for. There was a correlation between those that had received training and those that had good knowledge of the signs of sensory hyper-responsivity. There was no statistical significance of increased knowledge on sensory hypo-responsivity between those who had and had not received training. SENCOs who rated their school as being sensory-friendly had a greater understanding of what sensory integration is important for. Pertinently, those who rated their school as being ‘sensory-friendly’ (45.5%) were 8.5 times more likely to know sensory integration is needed for self-regulation. A number of recommendations are made including the need for greater collaboration between therapists and teachers to increase understanding of sensory integration and the impact of this on a child's education and wellbeing at school. Sensory strategy programmes are to be written with teaching staff and not given by the therapist in an ‘expert’ role. Sensory integration awareness training, including why and how to utilise sensory strategies, is to be encompassed in the SENCO national qualification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-90
Number of pages11
JournalSupport for Learning
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Support for Learning published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of National Association for Special Educational Needs.

Keywords

  • SENCO
  • mainstream
  • sensory
  • sensory strategies
  • collaboration

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