Learning Outcomes:

  1. To understand what sensory learning is and its crucial role in learning for pupils with SEND.
  2. To be aware of key issues affecting engagement and learning for pupils with  a visual and/or hearing impairment
  3. How to use close observation to identify a pupil’s sensory preferences
  4. How to offer creative and personalised sensory play activities
  5. To develop a toolkit of ideas and activities that will support effective engagement and increased learning outcomes for your pupils.


9 am Admission and virtual tea/coffee to start!

9.05 am Warm Up Session!

9.15 am Session 1:  Introduction to sensory learning

We start by introducing what we mean by sensory learning.

You will learn:

  • How your sensory system works and how it helps you learn
  • Why it is important to know a learners sensory preferences/dislikes
  • What we mean by a ‘barrier to learning’ – and what these might be
  • Observation techniques to use to identify sensory preferences/dislikes and potential barriers to learning

9.50 am Chat Task

10.00 am Session 2: Working with vision

This session will consider the role of vision as the coordinating sense and demonstrate how common visual difficulties affect a learner’s engagement and response.

You will learn:

    • why visual stimulation is important 
    • how visual impairment impacts learning
    • toolkit activities to support learners with a visual impairment in the classroom including: mini visual environments, projected images, colour contrast and ideas to maintain visual attention.

10.35 am COFFEE

10.55 am Session 3: Working with hearing

This session will provide an overview of common hearing loss issues and their implications for working with our learners.

You will learn:

  • why hearing stimulation is important 
  • how hearing impairment impacts learning
  • toolkit activities to support learners with a hearing impairment in the classroom including: sound location, vibration, simple Big Mack ideas and how to find sound effects online

11.30 am Session 4: Sensory Play! 

This session will consider the benefits of sensory play, both in terms of engagement but additionally as a foundation stage for further sensory work.

11.50 am Q & A

12 pm Thank you and close of session!

Important information before you book


The ‘Book now!’ button will take you to a new page where you can book and pay for this course.  Please note: if you are booking for someone else, please create the account using their name and email address.  You will still be able to pay by credit card (even it has a different name/school name on it.)

3 March 2022: 9am – 12pm

with Carol Allen and Richard Hirstwood

By linking sensory learning activities to theory we make explicit the reason why this approach is crucial for learners with complex needs/autism.

We start with how the sensory system works and its role in learning.   We introduce observation techniques to identify a pupil’s sensory preferences and to highlight their potential barriers to learning.  We go on to use this information to create personalised sensory play activities.

If a pupil’s sensory system is impaired – how do we accommodate this in the classroom?  Our focus will be on the key issues affecting pupils with a visual and/or hearing impairment.

We finish by introducing a toolkit of sensory learning ideas and activities you can use with confidence with your learners in your classroom tomorrow.

This session is aimed at teaching assistants and support staff. The resources, ideas and activities shared throughout the sessions will support staff in understanding how to implement these in the classroom with intent and effectiveness.

Who should attend?

This will be appropriate for classroom practitioners from special schools and colleges, mainstream settings with specialist SEN provision and early years settings, who are working with pupils with complex learning needs and/or autism.


Each place costs £60 plus VAT (£72 in total.)


The following resources will be available in your account for one week after the course date: a digital recording of this event, any resources shared/signposted during the session and a transcript of Zoom chat.



If you wish to make a group booking for this course – we can do this quickly and easily for you! Please email a spreadsheet with the first name/surname/email addresses of the delegates you wish to book for. Email to lois@hirstwood.com. We will then create access to this course for your colleagues. A Purchase Order Number will secure your booking.

Video Description

Cost: £60 plus VAT per place

(£72 including VAT)