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Lawrence School Unveils Sensory Walk for Students
Sensory walks have recently become popular in schools across the country.
HOLYOKE, Massachusetts – The H.B. Lawrence School has designed and opened the Holyoke Public School District’s first sensory walk. Sensory walks have recently become popular in schools across the country to provide students with an opportunity for a structured movement break during their school day.
The sensory walk will be unveiled to the public on Monday, March 25, 2019 at 10:00 AM and we invite the press to join us to observe and learn about the district’s first sensory walk at the H.B. Lawrence School (156 Cabot Street).
A team of Holyoke educators strategically designed the school’s sensory walk which consists of physical activities that support academics. There are letters, numbers, and sight words throughout the walk and a variety of movement prompts such as jumping, squatting, heel-toe-walking, and vestibular input (coordinates eyes, head, and body movement). Proprioceptive input (sensations from the joints and muscles that support body awareness) is provided and is strategically placed at the end to help students calm themselves before they go to class. Another important skill incorporated into the walk is crossing the midline which is a skill that supports reading and writing. The walk ends with a visual cue for students to take a calming deep breath.
During the school day students frequently seek movement through fidgeting, wandering the halls, and talking to peers. Since these behaviors can become disruptive to the learning environment, the sensory walk provides students with a proactive way to release their energy. By providing this tool we are teaching students to self-advocate for their need to take a movement break.
Students are able to use the walk throughout the school day as long as they are accompanied by a staff member. Teachers may take their class through the walk during transition times. Each class was trained on how to use the sensory walk which is located in a hallway that doesn’t have a lot of foot traffic.
The team that collaborated to create the plan for the sensory walk includes Alison L’Heureux (Therapeutic Intervention Program Clinician), Kendra Phillips (Occupational Therapist), Noel Sherman(Holyoke School Based Services Program Coordinator), Alissa Izzo (District Behavior Specialist), and Taylor Litchfield (Speech and Language Assistant). Phillips, Izzo, and Litchfield created the walk during February vacation, with support from the HPS Special Education Department, Catherine Hourihan (Lawrence School Principal), and the Lawrence School custodians.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Judy Taylor, Communications Director | (413) 493-1605, firstname.lastname@example.org