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Learning Styles and Sensory Processing Disorder

Reprinted with the express permission of Your Therapy Source as originally published on their blog.
In the school setting, teachers discuss various learning styles of students. There are three main types of learning styles:

  1. Auditory learner – learns best by using sense of hearing
  2. Visual Learner – learns best by sense of vision
  3. Kinesthetic/ Tactile Learner – learns best by doing or touching

More teachers are now accommodating students and presenting new material in various ways to help all students learn more efficiently. Teachers can offer choices regarding different ways to complete assignments that allow students the freedom to utilize their own learning styles. When determining a students learning style, a teacher looks at the students strengths. How do they learn best – auditory input, visual input or tactile input?
Is is starting to sound familiar? When determining if a student has sensory processing disorder, pediatric therapists look at auditory, visual and kinesthetic input and output. When an pediatric therapist evaluates a student for sensory processing disorder typically weaknesses are determined. For example, “this student is a sensory seeker constantly looking for movement opportunities”. Pediatric therapists can also look at students in a different manner with regards to learning styles and offer suggestions to the teachers in a language that they can fully understand. Therefore in addition to offering treatment strategies to address the students core sensory issues try:

  1. offering recommendations on how to present academic material to the sensory seeking student for that student may be an excellent kinestethic/ tactile learner
  2. providing the teacher with a list of methods or activities that may make it easier for the student to learn a new concept.
  3. following up on recommendations – did the student perform better on as assignment when there was a kinesthetic approach to the task?
  4. offering suggestions with a universal design approach to teaching to benefit all students in the classroom.

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