Multisensory Approach in Special Education – NJ Special Needs School

Benefits of the Multisensory Approach in the Classroom

Taking a multisensory approach to helping students with special needs can greatly enhance the learning environment in the classroom. Since all children learn differently and are differently abled, it is important to create lessons as well-rounded as possible.

What Is a Multisensory Approach?

A multisensory learning approach is a term many schools use to describe teaching methods that involve engaging more than one sense at a time. Involving the use of visual, auditory and kinesthetic-tactile pathways, a multisensory approach can enhance memory and ability to learn. This can also include taste, smell, touch, sight, hearing and movement. The students are able to experience a lesson through multiple pathways that can best stimulate their brains and engage them more deeply in the subject matter. There is a long history in the educational literature dating back to Montessori, John Dewey and Grace Fernald, just to name a few.

Multiple studies, including those from the National Institute of Child Health and Human development, show that a multisensory approach is the most effective teaching method for children who have difficulties in learning. 

Although every lesson won’t necessarily use all of a child’s senses at the same time, most multisensory lessons engage students with the learning material in more than one approach.

Who Can Benefit From a Multisensory Approach?

All children benefit from exposure to multisensory lessons; including those who may not have any difficulties with learning or paying attention. Whether general education or special education, if a student has the opportunity to learn something using more than one sense, the information is more likely to make a memorable impact and be internalized.

However, multisensory learning can be particularly helpful for students with learning disabilities and cognitive limitations who may have difficulty in one or more areas of education. For example, a differently-abled student may have trouble processing visual information. This can make it challenging for them to learn and retain information through only reading and visual stimuli. Using other senses, such as tactile or auditory, these children can make a stronger connection with what they’re learning.

Instead of each student experiencing a lesson through a singular medium like a textbook, a multisensory approach will involve more students in taking active roles in learning. This kind of hands-on learning enhances students’ ability to collect and remember information, make connections between what they already know and new information, understand and work through complexities, and use nonverbal problem solving skills.

Ultimately, using a multisensory approach in a learning environment helps to meet the varying needs of all children giving them each a chance to succeed.

Taking a Multisensory Approach at the Gateway School
At the Gateway School, we recognize that every student learns differently. Through differentiated instructional strategies, our academic program, aligned to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, directly addresses each student’s unique learning preferences.

About RKS Associates

Since 1980, RKS Associates has been a leader in providing the needs of special education students and helping children grow to their fullest potential. Each of our schools seeks to empower each student with skills for life, work, and recreation; we believe that every individual possesses the dignity and potential to contribute to a better world.

As part of the RKS Associates Network of schools in New Jersey, the goal at the Gateway School is to assist all students in becoming as independent as possible and help them get ready for the future. Located in Carteret, NJ, we serve individuals throughout Central and Northern New Jersey. Contact us at our main office at 732.541.4400 with any questions or schedule a private tour of the Gateway School today.

Our Mission at The Gateway School:
Provide a safe and nurturing educational environment dedicated to the vision that individuals with disabling conditions are entitled to a full and meaningful life.

Chris Hoye, Principal-The Gateway School, Carteret, NJ