Our in-house training packages are ‘bespoke’ – focusing on what you really need to develop a great skill base in sensory practise. Each of the sessions below can be delivered as part of a full day’s training or in some cases as a twilight session complementing a coaching or consultancy day. If you don’t have time to go through the information below, tell us your situation and we’ll point you to the sessions we think will have the biggest impact on your training day.

Mix and match the sessions below to give you an idea of your personalised agenda Just click on the words to see the content (in no particular order).

How can you create a sensory classroom

Learn why the environment is so important and is often the beginnings of a good sensory classroom. Learn how to work with the learners sensory skills in mind and understanding of the learners sensory abilities .

Finding the learners sensory strengths

Identify the learners sensory strengths and you will empower the learner to learn in a way which is appropriate and more importantly fun for everyone. We will show you why using a learning strengths with learners with severe and complex needs and Autism will help you to create sensory activities that the learner will want to engage with.  It will also help you understand what their barriers to learning may be – giving you the information to more highly personalise their learning pathway.

How you can understand over and under stimulation

We know that some learners are easily over stimulated some need additional stimulation to keep them engaged. We will help you understand that ‘under and over stimulation applies to all sensory modalities’ – vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell, vestibular & proprioception. This session will have a big impact on your team’s awareness of sensory loss and its impact on communication and learning and why we need to give more modulated sensory clues for all of our learners.

Sensory tools for everyone making your sensory accessible (sensory on a shoestring)

From powerful motivators, to attention-getters and story-makers, we show you how these shoestring tools contribute to a holistic sensory approach. Richard Hirstwood has a host of movies on YouTube showing great sensory tools to be used anywhere. But this session won’t just demonstrate, you will learn how to apply them and the benefit the lights, sounds, smells and tactile equipment can have on our learners.

How to use your sensory room effectively

This will get your team understanding what a multi sensory room is and how to use it effectively. Richard Hirstwood was one of the innovators in the 1980’s and in person or throiugh an HTA will shared the understanding how best to use your multi sensory equipment which will maximise the impact of your sensory room or space. Viewing each piece of equipment as a ‘tool’, which can produce a specific outcome will ensure that sensory experiences are clear and targets for your learners met.

Learn how to create sensory spaces for learners with autism 

For sensory ‘seekers’ and ‘avoiders’, we look at how to develop positive sensory environments to promote engagement & learning.  We’ll cover a range of ideas & strategies, which will enable you to create sensory environments that build on the individual’s learning strengths – from the biggest to the very smallest sensory spaces.  We will link evidence gained from sensory investigation and profiling, to a range of appropriate sensory ideas and learning opportunities to promote attention, engagement and communication.

Sensory for pre formal learners

Repetition is so important, the steps are short and measuring achievement can be so difficult. But this session will have a big impact on your team’s awareness of learning and play. They will also gain insights about sensory loss and how to understand its impact on communication and learning. We will show you how you are achieving and share the techniques to give more modulated sensory clues for all of our learners.

Sensory for semi formal learners

We begin by outlining the principles of multisensory learning. We’ll look at the importance of a sensory curriculum – and what this means in everyday practice. We will look at why our learners need sensory stimulation and this interactive session will show you how learners can engage through fun, appropriate and regulated sensory stimulation. We will finish by looking at our understanding of how the brain works – and how this knowledge is changing and reinforcing our sensory approaches to learning.

Communication for all

Understanding that ‘our quality of life revolves around our communication skills’ is the message for your team in this exersise . You will find out how does communication break down and how can sensory approaches really make a difference in the most important subject our learners will learn.

Working with sensory loss

Its a powerful practical session which will leave a. long lasting impression on your team, helping them to understand why some learners may react differently in everyday situations. Understanding what sensory loss is, can be a revelation for staff teams when completing this visual and hearing loss simulation.

iPads in SEN

We have a huge armoury of ‘tried and tested’ sensory apps and online training resources to share with you on how to use iPad apps for sensory learning, visual stimulation, hearing loss, interaction, communication development, curriculum links, and sensory stories – without downloading a thousand apps!

Sensory stories

A sensory story is a vehicle used to deliver multiple outcomes such as relaxation, specific learning targets, interaction, sharing with others…the list can be endless! But there is much more to sensory stories than picking up a book and reading it! To engage our learners it needs to be multi sensory, but how multisensory does it need to be? In this fun and engaging session, we look at the importance of ‘bite size’ stories, why repetition is your friend, how to use digital/mobile technology to enhance the interactivity of a story and why letting go of just getting from the front to the back of a book is crucial!

Building engaging sensory environments 

Every room can be a sensory room, but how you modify an environment to ensure that individuals are able to fully participate in sensory experiences we offer?  We will share a plethora of ideas and strategies for developing sensory spaces – from large scale environments to the smallest sensory spaces!

Learn about an environmental audit

In you school or centre the environmental influences can have a huge impact on successful learning for a pupil/individual with autism, or those with a multi sensory impairment, who may experience sensory sensitivity, processing and perceptual differences.  Your teams can carry out the ‘Environmental Audit’, which will tell you how “autism/sensory impairment friendly” your classroom/learning space is – and how you can adapt this to help pupils make ‘sense’ of their environment.

Why sensory?

This is often an early session in the day laying down the roots and creating the pathways so that your team have an underpinning knowledge of why the sensory approaches above are so important.

Clonker or resonance boards

Communication is key to most educational objectives, but a huge challenge for many individuals with autism, PMLD and sensory and physical impairments. Naomi has a plethora of dynamic, but simple, ideas to share to use music, sound and vibration to develop engagement.   From Lycra loops, curriculum links, beads, stories and much more, you’ll have a greater range of ideas at your fingertips to integrate your resonance board into everyday learning and classroom activities.



Following an INSET or if you prefer for a standalone or a few days, we love working alonside the teams in schools and center. By offering bespoke, individualised coaching with your staff and learners in your sensory room, classrooms or any spaces. We can show you and share ideas for intervention, coaching individuals to become more confident in teaching situations.

With your school or centre’s permission we often film our hands on/coaching sessions – meaning that you can review/discuss the video after the day to further develop ideas & interventions and to facilitate reflective practise. We’ll create a ‘Vimeo’ training channel, just for your setting, which is password protected (we have already created over 100 channels for schools and settings all over the world). Here you’ll find your hands on session videos, relevant ‘how to’ & tutorial videos and other relevant materials/documents to provide on-going support and training for your staff/colleagues.

All our coaching Hirstwood Training Associates HTA’s are highly experienced and enthusiastic, explaining the rationale behind their strategies. Working hands on allows us to share with you effectively how to use the equipment & technology that you have available to you to achieve success with pupils’ targets.



Leadership coaches who can help your management team to achieve success in the ever changing world of special education in the UK and overseas. We can match your needs to an experienced HTA (Hirstwood Training Associate) with winning management skills.

Steve Phillips skills were recognised by OFSTED in March 2017 when describing senior leaders at Fountaindale School saying ‘their vision and actions are inspirational… leaders are passionate in driving through improvements so that every pupil experiences only the highest quality of learning.’

Steve Phillips – Steve is an independent SEND Consultant and the Deputy Principal of Fountaindale School until December 2017; where he had lead responsibility for designing, leading and implementing a new curriculum approach to meet the changing needs of the schools learners. Besides holding qualifications to degree level, Steve has additional qualifications in educational management and special needs.

Steve’s area of expertise is leading and managing change within a school setting to develop bespoke curricula and assessment tools for learners with profound or severe/complex learning difficulties and disabilities that forms part of a school’s vision.

Specifically, in curriculum terms, how to design, implement and deliver non-subject specific and pre-subject curriculum models of learning, within the contact of the National Curriculum, a Curriculum for Excellence and the Rochford Review outcomes; and the educational rationale behind these approaches.

He is able to work with school teams in drafting school curriculum and assessment policies, deliver whole school INSET on curriculum and assessment, as well as the nature and role of learning environments.In terms of leadership, Steve is experienced in working with school leaders to audit provision in order to formulate a school vision; to explore how this is shared and understood and implemented through change management strategies.

He is also able to explore concepts of non-judgemental teaching; provision mapping and the importance of ‘data’ capture using a variety of strategies including observation, learning walks and engagement tools.