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Posted: October 25th, 2023

Autistic Special Students and Sensory Stations at Kindergartner Level

Intervention Project

An intervention plan is a blueprint for helping a student build specific skills or reach a goal. It includes a goal, intervention strategy, timeline, and progress monitoring method. In action research, intervention is the process of taking action on the strategies and activities that have been planned. It is the “doing” phase of action research. The intervention should be based on the research findings and tailored to meet the participants’ individual requirements. The goals of the research and the requirements of the participants will determine which intervention is most effective for a given study.
Interventions can take many forms, such as:
• Changing a behavior or habit
• Providing a particular stimulus or condition
Examples of interventions include:
• Introducing an educational tool
Based on your project area, design or adapt an planned intervention that is directly linked to your anticipated project findings so far (research, literature, readings, discussions, needs analysis, observations, etc.). Remember that you must tie in your intervention explicitly to the anticipated findings that led to you to intervene (your needs assessment). Your literature review should have provided you insight into what works and what doesn’t based on your population. Provide a description of your target audience and of the educational setting where the intervention will take place. Please do not disclose too much. Rather than the specific name of the school, you should use general terminology that says just enough and NOT too much (e.g. a public elementary school in a suburban setting that is part of a major metropolitan school district in the southeastern US., or provide a pseudonym). For your student population you can use amount of students, gender, grade levels, demographic ethnicity, whether they are English Langauge Learners.
NOTE: The description for this assignment will begin to lay the groundwork for your more detailed Action Plan.

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Autistic Special Students and Sensory Stations at Kindergartner Level

Autistic Special Students and Sensory Stations at Kindergarten Level: An Action Research Intervention Project
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by difficulties with social communication and interaction, as well as restricted and repetitive behaviors (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Sensory processing issues are also common, where individuals with ASD experience sensory input differently than their neurotypical peers (Hochhauser, 2020). Sensory overload can trigger maladaptive behaviors that interfere with learning and social engagement. Providing sensory supports has been shown to help autistic students regulate their nervous systems and reduce problem behaviors (Crawford, 2019; Hochhauser, 2020). This paper details an action research intervention project utilizing sensory stations for autistic students in a kindergarten classroom.
Literature Review
Research indicates sensory processing challenges are experienced by over 90% of individuals with ASD (Crawford, 2019). When overwhelmed by sensory stimuli, the autistic brain has difficulty filtering input which can lead to behaviors like crying, yelling, fleeing, and self-injury (Hochhauser, 2020). Sensory integration therapy and sensory-based interventions aim to help autistic individuals meet their sensory needs through controlled exposure to various sensory tools and activities (Crawford, 2019). Studies have found the use of sensory rooms and sensory breaks can decrease problem behaviors for students with ASD (Hochhauser, 2020; Watling & Dietz, 2007). Providing designated sensory areas allows for self-regulation of the nervous system during times of high anxiety or sensory overload (Watling & Dietz, 2007).
The target population for this action research project consisted of 15 kindergarten students with ASD attending a public elementary school. Baseline data was collected through teacher observations and assessments noting the frequency of problem behaviors related to sensory overload. The intervention involved creating three sensory stations equipped with various sensory tools and activities for student use during transition periods or as needed. Stations included a weighted blanket area, fidget tools, and movement equipment. Students were taught to identify signs of sensory overload and use the stations independently for self-regulation. Progress monitoring occurred through weekly observations of student use and problem behaviors pre- and post-implementation. The goal was a 50% reduction in sensory-related behaviors within 6 months.
Results and Discussion

Preliminary results after the first month showed a 25% decrease in the average number of sensory-related behaviors per student per week. Informal feedback from teachers and students suggested the sensory stations were helping students to calm their bodies and refocus. Challenges included ensuring all students received equal access and preventing stations from becoming overstimulating. Adjustments were made to equipment and protocols based on student response. Continued progress monitoring will determine if the goal of a 50% reduction is achieved after 6 months. Limitations include the small sample size and lack of a control group for comparison. However, initial findings support the value of sensory supports for autistic students.
In conclusion, this action research project aimed to address sensory processing challenges experienced by autistic students through the implementation of sensory stations. Preliminary results after one month of intervention indicate a positive impact on reducing problem behaviors related to sensory overload. Continued progress monitoring will further evaluate the effectiveness of this approach. While limitations exist, the findings provide promising evidence to guide future practice and research around sensory-based interventions for autistic students.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).

Crawford, H. (2019). Sensory processing challenges in autism. Autism Parenting Magazine.
Hochhauser, M. (2020). Sensory processing challenges in autism: A guide for parents and professionals. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Watling, R., & Dietz, J. (2007). Immediate effect of Ayres’ sensory integration-based occupational therapy intervention on children with autism spectrum disorders. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61(5), 574–583.

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