Many teachers report having insomnia at some time throughout their career. Insomnia is the experience of difficulty getting to or staying asleep, and the subsequent sleep deprivation that results can further add to the stress a teacher already experiences.
When someone finds it difficult to sleep, they often also experience a degree of anxiety and/or stress. This is sometimes referred to as the ‘fight and flight’ response. The body changes that occur during the flight and fight response include an increase in heart rate, tense muscles, increased speed of thoughts and feeling jumpy/jittery. If these bodily changes become a pattern or habitual response to stress, it can prove more and more difficult for a person to recognise the signs of its onset. An accurate predictor of a switched on ‘fight and flight’ is when the brain feels like it is ‘active and on alert’.
The Sensory Modulation Resource Manual was published earlier in 2018 as an ebook and paperback. We have been getting some feedback from different people and professional groups about what they find useful about the book. We have had feedback from Nurses, Teachers, Occupational Therapists, Parents, Architects, Dentists, Non-Government workers and many others.
Clinical Nurses in Mental Health are finding that the book provides useful resources for using sensory modulation to reduce seclusion and restraint on the inpatient unit. This includes information on designing different spaces or zones within the inpatient unit for different sensory input (sensory spaces), suggestions for equipment for the sensory spaces and a guide to getting starting in using sensory modulation with a client. In June 2018, the NSW government allocated $20 million to improve therapeutic environments within mental health units. The Sensory Modulation Resource Manual is a useful resource for this project.
Teachers are reporting that the Sensory Modulation Resource Manual is useful in understanding the individual sensory preferences of the children in the classrooms and tailoring strategies to the individuals. The section on calming strategies has been popular, in particular using the playground for calming. High school teachers and Guidance Officers have liked the lists of strategies to improve focus, and decrease anxiety.