The typical or rather conventional development of the human body incorporates the integrated development of the physical, mental, sensory or neural and psychological development to amount to a complete grown-up human being accumulatively. However, a number of cases often alter or hinder these processes, leading to the omission or disintegration of certain developmental stages or domains, and this leads to an incomplete human being either, mentally, physically or neutrally. Sensory processing challenges or difficulties are among them, many mishaps that amount from the disintegration of the developmental process. The neural processing challenge is a problem based on the neurological domain of the human being, and it occurs when the brain fails to integrate or process the sensory inputs from the various neural systems and convert them into useful responses (Critz, Blake & Nogueira, 2015). Individuals suffering from this disorder lack sensory modulation, a phenomenon that significantly affects their interactions with the environment around them. They often register abilities to accomplish tasks but are hindered by this lack of modulation. The sensory processing challenge might exist independently, comorbidly or as an integral part of an overarching disorder as with the case of autism. As if the manifestation of these conditions is not depressing enough, the diagnosis of sensory processing disorder is often challenging and inconclusive, making the victims misunderstood, mistreated and alienated in society. When the same happens to infants and children, the interfered communication of the physical and neural beings of the child often makes the parents or caregivers feel less capable of being meaningful to the lives and decisions of their children.
Sensory Processing Disorder
Cognitive development is among the various developmental stages that human beings undergo, and secondary sources within the school set-up often boost it. This developmental stage necessitates that an individual successfully experiences the physical, emotional and in this case, the neural phases of development, to enable them an efficacy in cognitive development. Sensory processing disorder, therefore, pauses as a tremendous and potential hindrance in the schooling experiences, and competencies of a leaner, as they can barely detect, regulate, interpret or respond to the vocal, tactile, auditory and visible and many other senses within the classroom or academic environment (Critz, Blake & Nogueira, 2015). The condition might be categorized as under-responsivity, over-responsivity or sensory seeking. These responses take a variety of forms, with toddler exhibiting over-responsiveness to touch or towards playing with certain toys. Preschoolers may display over-responsivity to touch, smell and noise and have problems executing simple tasks such as dressing, sleeping eating and toilet training. School-age children similarly exhibit such characteristics, with their sensory processing disorder presenting via the inability to interact with others in the class, trouble in paying attention, and poor motor coordination in both the fine and gross motor skills.
As stated earlier, individuals with this disorder have an average or above-average abilities and intelligence, and therefore are certain expectations for behaviour and achievement. The challenge sets in when a teacher or parent attempts to make them meet these expectations while they exhibit resistance, lack of motivation and focus. It is for this reason; therefore, that a majority of researchers and scholars have invested so much in attempting to find ways through which these children can be assisted more so in the classroom set up. Among these interventions is the use of multisensory interventions for students with learning disabilities due to sensory processing disorder s (Ashbaugh, 2016). Technology has also been employed in the various interventions more so with the use of computer-based instructions.
The incorporation of a multi-sensory environment in the typical classroom environment has been one of the most explored interventions by researchers and scholars. Traditionally, the classroom is often dominated primarily by auditory, visual or tactile activities (Al Sayyed, 2013). However, this usually leaves some students out, as each student autonomously responds to, or prefers certain activities to others. Therefore, by creating an integration of the various activities within a centralized classroom setting, all the needs of the different students are catered for. This is more so when it comes to the students with sensory processing disorder, as they are allowed to interact with the various senses presented in the classroom set up, and are hence enhanced neutrally. The multisensory approach similarly reduces environmental barriers, acts as a leisure source and generally eliminated the various psychological problems exhibited by the victims such as aggression, violence, poor coordination, agitation among many others. Thompson (2011) conducted research tackling the use of multisensory interventions in the classroom. He specifically targeted the need for conclusive and high-quality empirical evidence that would gauge the impact the integration of sensory intervention or the multisensory intervention in the education systems. The specific items in this study were the impact the multisensory intervention had in the sustained focus, the degree of self-injurious activities or thoughts, and the level of relaxation, happiness, and engagement of the students with special needs before, during and after the employment of the intervention.
The research by Thompson utilized the quantitative observational study in two phases, one being during the development, pilot test, reliability analysis, and construct validation study, while the other was during the implementation stage. The first phase focused on three items of observation that is the facial expression, body language and vocal cues. The study was primarily on the behaviour of the students, and Thompson utilized the Likert scale to record if the students seemed angry/stressed, self-injurious, aggressive, self-stimulatory, adaptive, relaxed, happy or engaged/interested. (Thompson, 2011). The pilot observation produced a reliability coefficient of .89 and .99, with an inter-rater reliability analysis of .64 coefficients. The pilot stage had therefore produced highly reliable observation instrument of the study on the impact of multisensory inventions in education systems. The implementation observational study was conducted by four specially trained observers, who observed the selected students before the introduction of the multisensory intervention, during its utilization and after the implementation that is when the students were returned in the typical classroom environment. The students were randomly sampled, and categorized into four groups, the trainable mentally handicapped, the profoundly mentally handicapped, students with autism and students with multiple disorders. The study adopted a quantitative observation one-group design, where each student was observed individually. The data was collected 24 times and analyzed using the ANOVA combined measure.
The results obtained sought to address the research questions which targeted the changes in sustained focus, self-injurious behaviours and relaxation, happiness and engagement levels. There was a 14% (p<.001) increase in sustained focus, a 98% decrease in mean self-injurious activities and a 17% increase in relaxation, 16% increase in happiness and 13% increase in engagement. The significance of these results are proof that the incorporation of the multisensory intervention in the education system is a form of the universal design of learning UDL, which is conceptualized to enhance the degree of engagement and learning in learners, by providing the learner with multiple means of representation, engagement and assessment (Brand & Dalton, 2012). The results obtained by Thompson corroborated with other conducted by Bera in 2008, and Houghton, Douglas, Brigg et al. in 1998.
Explicit Strategic Intervention and Ipad Application Intervention
The advent of technology similarly offered a platform through which learners and the education system at large could counter the issue of learning disabilities in the classroom set up. The fluency of computing basic arithmetic operations is critical for the achievement and accomplishments of more complex tasks such as fractions. The attainment if this ability is, therefore, a measure of competency for leaners, more so those in upper elementary level. Learning disabilities can present through the lack of competence in such tasks, or in most cases, the manifestation of lack of sensory coordination in the classroom set up. Students with learning disabilities (LD) exhibit difficulties in solving simple arithmetic problems, and in many cases, they exhibit more errors relative to their peers, and slow fact retrieval (Geary, 2011). These students often utilize developmentally immature methods and insufficient strategies in solving simple arithmetic multiplication problems and are usually at the frustration level. Ok and Bryant conducted research that looked into the impact as well as the maintenance effect of incorporating explicit strategic intervention with the use of iPad application practice in the fact fluency, strategy use and the learning of facts on single-digit multiplication in mathematics. The study was partaken by four students, two boys and two girls who registered low fluency in the multiplication factors of 4 and 8 and had the individualized education program in mathematics.
The researchers utilized the single-case multiple probe design across the participants, as this could allow for the collection of baseline data intermittently, with the dependent variable being the multiplication fact performance and strategy use and the independent variable being the explicit strategic intervention- with the iPad application intervention. The measures included the pretest, the progress monitoring daily probes, and the strategic use test. They also employment maintenance tests. Math Evolve was the iPad application utilized, and it was convenient as it entertaining whereby users have to solve math problems to fight the enemies. It also gives the users two chances for providing the answer failure to which it gives the answer. The results proved the efficacy of the explicit strategic intervention and iPad application, as the participants' recorded significant improvement in fact fluency, strategic use and learning of mathematics facts. James, for instance, recorded low fluency at the baseline of the intervention with a mean of 10.06 and rose progressively to a mean of 22 towards the end of the intervention. His highest score was 36.5, a score that was close to the mastery level. A participant like Perry started with a mean of 18.29 but hit two scores within the mastery level that is 40.5 and 42.5 (ok & Bryant, 2016). The social validity test revealed that most of the participants, except Perry, enjoyed the intervention, and all of them would recommend it to their friends.
The education set up is generally characterized by students with varying needs, backgrounds and preferences, and it is this phenomenon that often necessitates for the dynamic utilization of methods, resources and pedagogies. Learning disabilities and sensory processing disorders are among the many diversities that dominate the classroom, and this has made the two a priority to many education stakeholders and researchers. The incorporation of the multisensory intervention, for instance, has been one of the most recommended strategies towards sensory pro...
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