Many people on the autism spectrum have difficulty managing their sensory input.They may over- or under-react to visual, tactile, and aural input –sometimes to the point where they are unable to participate in typical life activities.


  • Visual Ideas -Tape visuals to a student’s desk.
  • Auditory Ideas -Use social stories about what might happen or sounds that can be heard in the room.
  • Tactile Ideas -Provide easy access to small hand fidgets.
  • Taste and Smells Ideas -When rewarding student with food or cooking time, use food they already like. Have a scented lamp, candle, lotions, liquid soap, scented markers or stickers available to smell to calm student.
  • Vestibular Ideas-Create heavy work activities (e.g. take down chairs in computer lab, take garbage out at lunch, and/or take a pile of encyclopedias to library).
  • Proprioceptive Ideas -Engage student in up and down movements (i.e. jumping rope, bouncing a ball, trampoline) to wake up student.

Heavy Work and Motion related activities that involve pulling, pushing, and pressure are calming to students while motion incorporated into these activities can be alerting.

Ideas: chair or wall push ups, wear a heavy backpack, carry a box of books, wash tables/desks, erase the board, push/stack chairs, open doors for others, sharpen pencils with manual pencil sharpeners, make deliveries to the office, fidget toys, stress balls, cutting cardboard/heavy paper, bounce on a therapy ball/mini-trampoline, jumping jacks, sit in a rocking chair while reading, do head/shoulder/neck rolls while sitting, stretch breaks, have the student push his/her feet into a thera-band placed around the legs of the chair, wiggle seat, and/or deep breathing.


This article says it is geared for K-6, but has several strategies to use at any grade level:

   Strategies for K-6 Classrooms

This site has a lot of classroom ideas!

   Sensory Processing Disorder

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