Multisensory Strategies by E. McIntosh and M. Peck

What is multisensory instruction?

· A multisensory approach to teaching is an important instructional tool because we know that no two children learn in exactly the same way.

· We are always using a combination of our senses as we learn every day. The more avenues that we can access in a lesson, the better the chance that information will lock itself in to a child’s memory.

· By providing a multisensory approach to teaching, each child will be able to learn through his or her strongest senses.

· The 4 modalities children primarily use in school are the visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic.

· Our senses play a complex role in learning. One job is to take in information from the outside world, which we’ll call the external sensory system. The other job our senses carry out is to qualify, organize and control the way we perceive incoming information based on what we see, hear, touch, smell and taste. We’ll call this system the internal sensory system.

· When a child’s internal sensory system is organized, he or she can easily attend to the teacher’s voice and look at the appropriate stimuli.

· When a child’s internal sensory system is disorganized, she may have trouble tuning out environmental noises and other distractions. Because attention is a prerequisite for learning, teachers need to help children focus on the correct stimuli before expecting them to learn new information.

· In order to truly reach each child, multisensory instruction must recognize the importance of an emotional component to learning. How we feel affects how we learn.


-Children need to be able to attend to a lesson before they can learn from that lesson.

-Rather than define students by labels (e.g. Visual Learners), understand that we all have different strengths and needs.

-Using a multisensory approach with all of your students is a more effective and realistic approach than designing an individualized sensory approach for each child or group of children.

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