Special Education Resources – Coping with Sensitivity to Smells

Many students with special needs experience sensitivity to strong smells that surround them in both a community setting and also at school in places such as the cafeteria during lunch time.

In today’s Teacher Tips newsletter, the Watson Institute offers suggestions to help students with special needs prevent negative reactions to smells.

  1. Sensory Tools: work with your student with special needs to make an item that smells good that can be brought to the cafeteria or restaurant. For example, you can push cloves into an orange, making a pleasantly fragrant substitute for the smells of the environment the student will be entering.
  2. Behavior Stories: create and adapt the “Smells in the Cafeteria” behavior story which guides your student through the process so they know what to expect.
  3. Mini-Schedules: make a mini schedule and allow your student with special needs to check off each item as it occurs.
  4. Environment & Choice Control: provide as many choices as you can for your student such as: Where would he/she like to sit? What would he/she like to have for dessert? Writing down the choices and giving your student control over the event may help redirect his/her thoughts about the smells.

The above are some tips to help your student or child with special needs cope with sensitivities to smells. Read more special education resources and sign up for our Teacher Tips weekly e-newsletter today!