To offer more explicit multi sensory learning experiences, we first need to examine how the learner receives and processes sensory information.
We need to explore each of the sensory modalities so that we can begin to individualise our teaching to specific learners.
The following sensory modalities make up our sensory system:
- Vision or Sight – the ability of the eyes to focus and detect images of visible light, which the brain processes by recognising & interpreting these images with previous visual experiences.
- Audition or Hearing – the ability to perceive sound, which the brain processes by recognising & interpreting these sounds with previous auditory experiences.
- Olfactory or smell – the ability to detect and recognise smell
- Gustation or taste – the ability to detect the taste of substances such as food/liquids/poison
- Somatosensory or Touch – the perception of neural receptors to feel, usually in the skin
- Vestibular – the perception of our body in relation to gravity, movement and balance.
- Proprioception – the sense of the relative position of where neighbouring body parts are in space essential in planning movement.
So, when we refer to multi sensory learning, we mean a combination of more than one of the sensory modalities above.
We need an approach to evaluate learners’ sensory skills in each sensory modality. This will enable us to reflect upon how these sensory skills’ presence, or otherwise, may impact successful learning. Then, we can identify how using a multi-sensory approach to learning increases engagement for specific learners.
Richard Hirstwood September 2023
We have several events coming up which may be of interest to you! Check out:
The Big Autism Play Day – 1 December