“Sensory approaches to learning and life are very much accepted as an essential means for special learners” (Longhorn 1983). In fact, sensory approaches to learning are now recognized as being important for everyone!
What is Sensory Learning?
Sensory Learning is essentially the ability to incorporate different senses either alone or in combination to heighten and reinforce the learning process.
What are the different senses?
Flo Longhorn is renowned world wide as being one of the leading Sensory Savants, providing a thorough introduction to the 7 sensory systems and does so in their order of their importance to the brain:
- Proprioceptive (movement and body maps)
- Vestibular (balance and position of body part)
The Sensology Workout (2007)
A bit about Sensory processing and sensory integration.
For children at the early levels of development learning through the senses, “enables understanding through perceptions. These are grouped to form cognition or an understanding of events, permitting the individual to begin to think-about themselves and the world” (Flo Longhorn 2001).
More recently this process has been referred to as Sensory Integration, that is, the brain receives inputs from the senses and must use that information efficiently to accurately construct meaningful responses. For many of our students their brain has difficulty integrating information it receives and thus affects their perception of the environment and their ability to function in it. Carefully planned intervention and learning through the senses can support our students to make sense of their world.
What is Sensology?
Sensology is a new educational approach to learning and describes the “first sensory steps in early learning for everyone… and embraces the importance of the theory of early learning through the senses, sensory stimulation – “practising with the senses” (Hirstwood 2005), sensory experiences and multisensory environments” (Flo Longhorn 2007). Sensology is a structured approach that “may lead to an understanding of more complex sensory perceptions, forming a concrete base for simple understanding”. (Flo Longhorn 2007).
Sensory learning is a relatively new phenomenon here in New Zealand and IT’S EXCITING, IT’S FUN, IT’S ENGAGING and can benefit all of our students. The goal of the sensory learning link is to keep you abreast of all developments.
You can e mail Julie firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any resources or useful articles you would like to share on the website.
*special learners are students with special needs