Sensory Processing Supports
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) occurs when an individual experiences difficulty in processing information that comes in through the senses. It can cause a “traffic jam” in the brain and can affect people in different ways. Over-responsive people can become totally overwhelmed, while it can causeunder-responsive people to withdraw from what is going on around them.
Sensory issues are a common feature of Autism and Attention Deficit Disorder but SPD is a standalone condition.
The three core sensory systems that most commonly cause problems are the tactile system (sense of touch), the vestibular system, (our sense of movement and where we are in space), and the proprioceptive sense(our perception and awareness of the position and movement of our muscles, joints and body parts).
Occupational Therapist, Developmental Psychologist, sensory pioneer, and all-around superwoman A. Jean Ayres used the following, beautifully-worded analogy to explain Sensory Processing Disorder:
SPD is like a neurological traffic jam in which the senses don’t work properly.
Students with SPD can avail of supports that will enable them to participate and engage in Trinity life. Once you have submitted an application for reasonable accommodations in Trinity an Occupational Therapist will carry out a needs assessment with you. They will also devise a sensory profile for you to determine how teaching, assessment, and social life within Trinity will impact you. Some supports we offer for student with SPD include:
Respite Space: There are three respite rooms on campus available for you to book to help you deal with sensory issues.
Examination supports: Low distraction venues, sensory strategies for exams and the use of noise cancelling headphones in exams.
Noise Cancelling Headphones: As part of Occupational Therapy supports the use of noise cancelling headphones may be recommended.
Low distraction study spaces: There are a number of low distraction study spaces, with reduced levels of noise, within the BLU and Hamilton libraries available to students who have applied for reasonable accommodations.
Sensory App: Some students report that certain spaces in Trinity are difficult to work within. A sensory app has been produced to allow students to audit their own environments and report on issues they experience. This app will help students, and the College, gather data on sensory issues.
If you require any sensory processing supports contact your Disability Officer to discuss what supports might work for you.