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I work with a great group of students in special education at our local middle school. They come with a wide variety of strengths and needs, and they all are working hard to meet the demands of middle school. Middle school can be a stressful time, especially for students with autism, ADHD, and other developmental delays. They are experiencing changes in their own bodies, as well as dramatic changes in the school expectations from elementary school. Many of them struggle with self-regulation and learning to cope with these new challenges. With the right tools, I feel my students can become more successful with self-regulation and gain greater independence and more successful school participation. My students need a safe area to practice new skills, and to have the tools available to them that can help them learn self-regulation skills that will benefit them their entire lives.
The middle school years can be a demanding and stressful time for students of all abilities. For special education students in particular, learning self-regulation is an important life skill that impacts their ability to learn and succeed in school. It is important that students have the opportunity to learn how to cope with stress, manage emotions, and focus their brains and bodies for learning. These tools will provide students an opportunity for hands-on practice. The safety mats for the sensory gym, emotional regulation games, and sensory tools will be valuable resources for many students. Students having trouble focusing can choose a sensory fidget, or listen to calming music, and learn what strategies work for them to focus and learn.