Sensory Supports

There are lots of individualised supports and resources to enable you to participate in college life and all that it entails, ranging from social events to academic workload. Many of these resources are available to all student and staff members in TCD, with some specialised supports also available for neurodivergent/disabled students registered with the Disability Service.  

If you would like to discuss any of these supports / resources, you can book a drop-in appointment with one of the Occupational Therapists to go through the following: 

  • Environmental assessment of learning, social and study spaces using Sensory Evaluation Tool  
  • Individual Sensory Assessment using the Adult Adolescent Sensory Profile  

Based upon this assessment process, your Occupational Therapist may recommend some of the following:  

  • Sensory-based reasonable accommodations for examinations, lectures, work or placement.
  • Sensory Spaces for studying, socialising or respite.
  • Sensory Items and Furniture to best meet your sensory preferences.  

Sensory-based Reasonable Accommodations:  

  • Examination accommodations: Low distraction examination or individual venues can be recommended from your needs assessment, and you can work with us on developing sensory strategies for exams such as lighting set up, using noise cancelling headsets or taking sensory breaks.
  • Reasonable Accommodations within teaching environments: Based upon your Needs Assessment / Occupational Therapy assessment additional accommodation may be recommended for learning environments such as lectures, labs or placement. 
  • Recommendation for Priority Study Spaces: For Postgraduate students who have assigned study spaces, we can do a review of the space and offer recommendations on adaptions to these environments.  

Sensory Spaces for studying, socialising or respite:  

There are TCD Sense Spaces all across Trinity for studying, socialising and respite. These provide a variety of sensory experiences to suit the sensory preferences of the diverse student population that use them. These include: 

  • Individual rooms which block out visual and auditory distraction and allow you to
  • Shared study spaces with pod style desks
  • Flexible seating positioned in areas of good natural light and connection to natural views.
  • Seating in transition spaces that provide comfortable areas with some noise and visual input but provides a nice transition from busier areas of campus to quieter areas in the libraries. 
  • Enclosed desks within open plan areas of the libraries
  • Sensory respite rooms which provide individual spaces to lie down, sit in a reclining chair, rocking chair or beanbags, and to control the levels of light in the spaces.
  • Enclosed seating in student spaces to provide a sense of enclosure within open plan areas.
  • Small rooms within student spaces to provide a quieter or more private space to socialise.
  • Sensory friendly office spaces within the disability service which can be tailored to individual student preferences. 
  • Outdoor areas to provide areas to connect with nature and offer a break from the busier areas on campus. 

Please see here for more information about sensory spaces for studying, socialising, or respite.

Sensory Items & Furniture:

  • Desk top screens are available to use within the library, exams or other study spaces to reduce visual distraction.  
  • Noise cancelling headphones (both electronic and non-electronic) are available either directly from the disability service or by asking at the library counters. 
  • Weighted blankets and lap pads are available from the Disability Service following assessment for use from one of the Occupational Therapists. These can provide calming input during lying / relaxation or during seated activities.
  • Rocking chairs are available in the libraries, student spaces and respite rooms, which provide calming movement.  They are particularly apt for those who gravitate towards repetitive motions for self-soothing.
  • Beanbags offer a snug and adaptable seat, allowing users to mould their ideal position.  They can provide a calming deep pressure “squeeze” sensation.
  • Dyson Morph Lighting offer varied colours, designs, and brightness levels, allowing the user to set the level of lighting to their own preference.
  • Body Socks which can provide full body proprioceptive and tactile input.
  • Sensory items can provide sensory input that is calming or alerting.  Students and staff have created a guide for various sensory items linked here: Sensory Items Guide