Sensory tools for school success

Helpful sensory tools for study success with ADHD

Little Bit is just entering her first grade year of school. Even before kindergarten, she learned most of her letters and numbers without much intentional instruction. We have chosen to homeschool both girls for many reasons. However, I am a working parent, and must rely on a prepared curriculum to ensure the girls are learning the necessary information. Sensory tools are a must in our home for school success.

Little Bit learns very quickly when a subject is of interest to her. I encourage interest led learning when possible. However, the basics of reading, writing, and math are the foundation to learning. This is why the prepared curriculum is a must to give her a solid foundation.

Natural support for the brain

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Some days, structured learning is a challenge to accomplish. Read about the supplements I utilize to optimize nutrition here. Someday we may consider ADHD medication, but for now we have had good success with natural remedies, sensory, and behavioral tools.

Essential oils are a go to in our house for multiple purposes. I diffuse Balance if the day starts with raw emotions, or use Adaptive for high energy mornings with scattered focus. This is one of our favorite diffusers. Check out my post about essential oils for emotions.

Balance oil when emotions are running high

Move to focus

Starting off every day with physical activity leads to much more success. Frequent active breaks are important as well. Read about how we improve focus with regular exercise and specifically crossing the midline here.

When Little Bit needs sit and focus on a workbook assignment, utilizing sensory tools is a must. Sitting on an exercise ball can be a great way for her to utilize her core. She is able to constantly move a little, while still staying stationary enough to focus on her work. Read about the success in schools of replacing chairs with balls here.

Keep it short

Large tasks can be overwhelming with ADHD. Breaking things down into small manageable chunks is vital. I will use this visual timer, and challenge Little Bit to “race” the timer to complete a small task. She can see a visual representation of the time passing. Visual timers are helpful for many tasks, and I even use this one in the shower to keep her on task.

Calm the senses

Sometimes Little Bit still cannot settle physically or emotionally. In those cases she will often sit in her sensory swing. The enveloping pressure of the fabric seems to provide calm, and allow her to focus. We pair it with this stand so we weren’t required to try to hang it from a ceiling. The swing has even accommodated nap time on occasion, when the schedule necessitated her to fall asleep quickly.

Sensory swing for nap time
Sensory swing for nap time

Sometimes Little Bit will sit with her weighted blanket while she works. The added pressure seems to be calming and allows her to focus. Read about this and other tools for sleep and emotions here.

How homeschool can benefit ADHD learners

ADHD was not the driving force in the decision to homeschool. However, the freedom to utilize all of the sensory tools, and employ physical activity when needed has been amazing. I am able to cater to each specific learning style, and identify learning challenges before they become major frustrations. We can support Little Bit to learn to utilize all of the sensory tools, many of which can follow her into adulthood. Check out my post on other less common reasons to homeschool here.

To join our journey of learning to thrive in an ADHD affected household, follow me on Facebook or Pinterest.

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The content in this post is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  It is merely opinion based on personal research and experience.

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