The Classroom as a Sensory Environment: Building Teachers' Capacity to Support Student Engagement




Kite, Sarah

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Including students with special needs in general education classrooms has become more common, but many general education teachers are not provided with the necessary knowledge to accommodate these students effectively. This doctoral capstone aims to address the growing demand for general education teachers by providing education on the classroom as a sensory environment and how to create a sensory-friendly classroom environment, which can enhance student engagement and support. Three goals were established after identifying gaps in existing literature: performance, professional reasoning, and experimental. These goals were used to develop a sustainable program, consisting of a guide, supplemental resource document, and educational video, to promote education on creating sensory-friendly classrooms. The guide was tested with a single teacher, and results showed that modifying the classroom in this way positively affected the entire student population, not just those with special needs. This capstone project is a starting point to raise awareness of the benefits of sensory-friendly classrooms, which can increase classroom participation and engagement.



Pediatrics, School, School-based occupational therapy, Sensory environments, Sensory-friendly, Sensory processing, Classroom environments, General education, General education classrooms, General education teachers