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Sensory needs and food

Many children have difficulty at meal times because of their sensory needs.

Some children are perceived 'fussy' eaters and avoid many foods. This may be because of their sensory needs or because they haven't developed eating skills. 

Staff have worked with occupational therapists to develop strategies to encourage pupils to explore foods and have fun with food. These activities take place outside of meal times in a fun way. Pupils can play with food and explore, so that they become more tolerant towards eating. 

It is important that pupils have fun and feel safe because some pupils often have real anxieties with food and we want to encourage them.

Pupils experience new foods, textures and tastes. Some pupils resist food of certain colours and shapes and these session can help them try new food in a safe and happy environment.

These sessions are carefully structured to support pupils' sensory needs and encourage them to explore. 

Pupils are offered food in a sequence based on type. Starting with a comfortable favourite food (eg: crisps) moving through other groups: puree, carbohydrate, vegetable and protein.  A session may also be based on a shape or colour.

Lessons also include other activities to develop eating skills, for example, blowing games to develop lip shape.


  • ‘very impressed with the school’s clear sense of purpose in preparing its students for life after school. ’

    ASD report Dec 2017

  • ‘Pupils' relationships with adults are excellent, and they learn respect and appropriate behaviour from the staff. Pupils are accepting of each other’s varying needs, and show pleasure in each other’s successes.’

    Ofsted report


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