George Hastwell School

Sensory Processing

What is Sensory Processing ?

Autistic children, as well as those with developmental disabilities, may have difficulties with processing sensory information and integrating sensory stimuli.

Any of the senses may be over or under-sensitive at different times

Sensory integration focuses primarily on four basic senses — proprioception, the vestibular system, the tactile system and interoception.

Specific strategies can be used to promote regulation for a child who is either over or under-responsive to certain sensory inputs. 


Refers to the body's ability to sense movement within joints and joint position. This sense enables us to know where our limbs are in space without having to look.

Examples of strategies to support regulation:

  • Heavy work activities
  • Push, pull, lift                                                                                                
  • Deep pressure                                                                                                                    
  • Swimming                                                                                                                                       
  • Playground equipment

Vestibular System

The brain uses this sense to plan movements, coordinate the body and balance.

Examples of strategies to support regulation:

  • Swings                                                                                                                                               
  • Rocking                                                                                                                                    
  • Climbing                                                                                                                                                     
  • Peanut ball

Tactile System

Someone may be over or under-responsive to the sense of touch.

Examples of strategies to support regulation:

  • Weighted blanket                                                                                                                   
  • Wobble cushion                                                                                                                             
  • Lying under a mat


Interoception provides information about the internal condition of our body - how our body is feeling on the inside. This includes being able to identify when you are hungry, thirsty, cold or hot or need the toilet.

Examples of strategies to support awareness and develop self-regulation:

  • Exploring the difference of hot and cold with our hands                                                                  
  • What someone notices when they are hungry

What support do we offer at George Hastwell ?

As a school we aim to provide all our children with daily opportunities and resources to support their sensory regulation. Within George Hastwell, children’s sensory needs are prioritised and addressed to help them feel safe, happy and therefore ready to learn.


With support from Hanna Munro, a Specialist Occupational Therapis, certified in Ayres Sensory Integration, we have developed a programme of regulation activities for our pupils throughout the day. Activities are accessible in our classrooms; in our specialist rooms or using our outside space.

Sensory Processing