Autistic Student Shares Struggles with Sensory Overload at School

Autistic student Erin struggles with sensory overload at school, highlighting the need for increased support for students with special needs. Schools face challenges in meeting these students' needs, but initiatives like sensory rooms aim to create more inclusive environments.

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Autistic Student Shares Struggles with Sensory Overload at School

Autistic Student Shares Struggles with Sensory Overload at School

Erin, an autistic student at Newman Roman Catholic College, has been facing significant challenges due to sensory overload from noises and crowds at school, particularly after the disruption caused by the COVID-19 lockdown. Diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia, Erin has struggled with the transition back to a normal school environment, feeling overwhelmed by the noise and crowds.

The school has implemented measures to support Erin and other students with special needs, such as providing a safe space, smaller classes, and a pass system to allow breaks. However, due to her difficulties, Erin has only been able to attend school a couple of days a week. "The noise and crowds at school can be too much for me to handle sometimes," Erin shared.

The article also discusses the broader impact of the pandemic on students with special educational needs, with a significant increase in the number of students requiring additional support. Schools like Newman Roman Catholic College are facing challenges in meeting the needs of these students, with limited resources and overstretched support services.

Why this matters: The struggles faced by autistic students like Erin highlight the need for increased awareness and support for individuals with sensory processing difficulties in educational settings. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these challenges, emphasizing the importance of providing adequate resources and accommodations to ensure inclusive learning environments for all students.

Occupational therapists Laura Dooley and Sarah Morrison from Horizon Health have started a sensory room to help children with sensory processing or mental health needs. The room is equipped with various tools and equipment like weighted blankets, fidget toys, and a trampoline to help children focus and feel more comfortable in different environments. The Chalmers Foundation provided funding for this initiative, which aims to see and assess around 100 children per year.

The challenges faced by autistic individuals are not limited to the school setting. Peyton, a 6-year-old child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), has faced several challenges since a young age, including difficulty sleeping, delayed developmental milestones, and issues with certain foods and textures. Her family has had to adjust their lives to accommodate Peyton's needs, which has led to the loss of some friends, but they remain committed to ensuring her happiness.

As schools and communities continue to navigate the challenges posed by the pandemic, it is crucial to prioritize the needs of students with special educational requirements, including those with autism and sensory processing difficulties. By providing appropriate accommodations, resources, and support, we can create more inclusive and understanding environments that enable all students to thrive and reach their full potential.

Key Takeaways

  • Autistic student Erin struggles with sensory overload at school due to COVID-19 disruption.
  • School provides support measures, but Erin can only attend a few days per week.
  • Pandemic increased students needing special support, straining school resources.
  • Sensory room helps children with processing or mental health needs, funded by Chalmers Foundation.
  • Autistic child Peyton's family adjusts to accommodate her needs, facing social challenges.