An opinion from a psychological perspective

Sensory processing is one component worth addressing when discussing learning and the retrieval of information. A disturbance in sensory processing or regulation leads to difficulty for the brain regarding reception of and reaction to information received from the various senses.

Research in the field of sensory processing began with studies which examined the sympathetic nerve system, when they noticed that children with difficulties in sensory processing were presenting with reactions to apparently “innocent” stimuli in stressful situations.

Disturbances in sensory regulation may express itself in distraction, difficulty in regulating emotion, motor restlessness and harm to daily functioning abilities. These are often incorrectly read as attention deficit disorder. Even those who do not suffer from sensory regulation disorders may still experience sensitivity in sensory regulation and in any case, under stressful circumstances, there is an increase in sensory regulation sensitivities.

Disturbances in sensory regulation are currently being increasingly researched using a multidisciplinary approach. Among subjects being studies are neurophysiological reactions to sensory stimuli, behaviors influenced by sensation, regulation of attention and emotion. In addition, models of neurological changes in animals, genetic influence and more are being examined.

A study from 2009 (Ben-Sasson, Carter & Briggs-Gowan), demonstrates that one of every six students suffers from deficits in sensory regulation and that this in turn makes it difficult for them to study and function in school.

Difficulty with sensory regulation may present alone or alongside a variety of problems including attention deficit disorders (with or without impulsivity, ADD/ADHD), disorders on the Autism spectrum (ASD), anxiety disorders, learning disabilities and more.

Because these disorders do not only affect the individual but also influence the quiet and learning environment in the classroom, the scope of the damage is broader than is measurable employing individual diagnosis.

In stressful situations, including matriculation (Bagrut) exams, the students’ tension naturally increases, and students who do not generally suffer from sensory regulation disorders may find themselves experiencing similar difficulties.

In the case of sensory hypersensitivity, an environmental change known as a sensory diet is often recommended. A sensory diet may reduce or prevent the central nervous system going into overdrive.

The Genius Notebook was developed to provide a solution to visual overstimulation. Reduction of the color contrast permits easier sensorial processing, thus allowing the students to calm themselves and focus in a manner which permits a fuller and fairer expression of their knowledge and ability to think.

I warmly recommend using the Notebook regularly and particularly in stressful situations, such as during matriculation (Bagrut) exams.

Sharon Ratsabi, Medical psycologist
Hayogev 4, Pardes Chana-Carcur

Source: Ben-Sasson, A., Carter, A.S. and Briggs-Gowan, M.J. (2009). Sensory Over-Responsivity in Elementary School: Prevalence and Socio-Emotional Correlates. J Abnorm Child Psychol, 37: 705-716.

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