Ep. 139: Environmental Changes You Can Make to Support a Child’s Learning with Lindsay Astor Grant

Jun 27, 2023 | 0 comments

The end of a school year is a great time to reimagine learning environments for the next academic year. While that may seem like a topic only applicable to teachers and their classrooms, these redesign ideas are amazing additions to a child’s home as well.

Today’s guest is Lindsay Astor Grant, a pediatric occupational therapist and founder of Learning Redesigned. At Learning Redesigned, Lindsay helps teachers and parents reimagine the learning space with the mission of partnering with schools to help create and sustain the optimal learning potential of their students. 

In our conversation today, Lindsay describes what changes we can make to a child’s environment to ensure that the brain is in the readiness stage for learning. And while we are preparing for the next academic year, this is the perfect time to start thinking about what we can do to help support the needs of our children and students.


Show Notes:

[2:52] – The learning environment is often overlooked but it is so important and could contribute to dysregulation.

[4:34] – Lindsay did a great amount of research and observation about the classroom environment impacting student behavior.

[6:01] – Behavior is communication.

[7:38] – When beginning the redesign process, Lindsay starts small in creating spaces that help children stay as even as possible internally.

[9:12] – Rather than focusing on the behavior itself, we need to think about the sensory issue that contributes to the behavior.

[11:01] – Everyone, including neurotypical adults, have a threshold on how much we can handle before we are in sensory overload.

[12:41] – Understimulation can also cause behavioral reactions from children.

[15:27] – In classroom and even home environment redesign, Lindsay creates a space that is not punitive that allows a child to come down from overstimulation.

[17:24] – Providing a safe space also gives students validation for their feelings.

[20:28] – It’s not white walls and white furniture, it’s more neutral colors that are calming and peaceful in the classroom.

[22:16] – Let the background be neutral and the color come from the artwork.

[23:48] – The majority of problems come from transitions.

[24:50] – Visual schedules are not only helpful in the classroom but in the home as well.

[28:01] – Creating a “zen zone” is something that Lindsay has done for students in as early as pre-k classrooms.

[30:02] – Many teachers are worried that students will just spend their whole day in the zen zone, but Lindsay says that if it is done in conjunction with others, that won’t be a problem.

[33:24] – When a kid is uncomfortable, they won’t be able to take in the information you need them to learn.

[35:18] – Using the same or similar supports as the classroom at home creates consistency for the child.

[38:29] – Sometimes, the entire school will adopt this approach and the impact is noticeable especially over time.

[41:06] – Another effect of this is a classroom culture that fosters acceptance and understanding.


About Our Guest:

Lindsay Astor Grant is a licensed pediatric occupational therapist and owner of Learning Redesigned. She earned her M.A. in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California and has advanced training in Sensory Integration, Executive Function, Motor Skill Development, and Classroom Design. Lindsay has more than two decades of experience in the field. She began her career as an OT for the Los Angeles Unified School District and in 2007, she started Children First Therapy, providing private in-home and school-based occupational therapy services. In 2018, Lindsay founded Learning Redesigned, working as an independent consultant for schools. She leads staff professional development sessions, as well as parent education seminars on topics including Executive Function, Sensory Integration, Classroom Layout and Design, Movement-Based Learning, and Motor Development. 


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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.