Classroom environments provide enormous amounts of sensory stimulation. Bright lights, things hanging on the walls, people moving about the room, constant noises, and even smells. Research shows that noisy classrooms in particular can lead to difficulties with paying attention and can hinder academic performance. Some children can be especially sensitive to sensory inputs or may need excessive sensory input in order to pay attention and learn. The importance of a match between the child's sensory preferences and the sensory environment of the classroom cannot be overstated. There are strategies teachers can use to support inclusion of students with sensory needs and improve classroom behavior and engagement, particularly for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Your occupational therapist can assist you with assessment of the child's sensory preferences and needs. There are multiple assessment tools that he or she can use. However, until now, there were no tools for you to use to assess your classroom. After using the C-SEA, you will be able to collaborate with the occupational therapist to create strategies and classroom modifications that can help the student with sensory needs.
The C-SEA is for use in elementary school classrooms, playgrounds, cafeterias, and gymnasiums. In the future, to use the C-SEA completely you will also need an app for a light meter and a sound meter. There are free apps for this available.