Whether in libraries, hospitals, airports, schools or at home, sensory rooms make use of various sensory products to encourage users to develop their senses. This can be done through the use of different colours, scents, sounds and textures. These sensory products help cause and effect skills, hand-eye coordination and shape recognition skills to develop. There is a benefit for anyone who spends time in one of these rooms, regardless of their sensory capabilities.
Although at the moment, most public places can't be visited due to the national lockdown restrictions, it's important to plan ahead for outings which can accommodate individuals with sensory needs in the future.
A sensory room in public places like schools, leisure centres, shopping centres, libraries, care homes and airports not only makes the facility accessible for all abilities, but each sensory room can be designed to target specific sensory development.
For those who don't have space for a sensory room at home, a public sensory room gives you the peace of mind that there is a safe space out there for your loved one to attend. When the time is right for the national lockdown restrictions to be eased, public sensory rooms should hopefully be open once again. The benefit is that most sensory equipment can be easily wiped down and sanitised, making it a clean space for all.
For most people, being at the airport means excitement about your upcoming holiday. However, for others, it can be an extremely overwhelming environment with a lot of new sounds, bright lights and new social interactions to conquer. Combine these intense sensory cues with the stress associated with flying, and it can be a very unpleasant experience which can lead to sensory overload.
An airport sensory room allows the user to escape to a tranquil, relaxing and safe space before their flight, making it a much more enjoyable experience for all. Airport sensory rooms are perfect for those with autism, dementia, cognitive impairment or hidden disabilities to adjust to their new surroundings.
It's no surprise that in each hospital, a wide variety of patient needs must be considered and catered for. Sensory rooms in hospitals create a safe and positive sanctuary for all ages which can help and support those with varying needs; whether that's a child visiting a parent in a hospital or a patient mentally preparing for an operation. Hospitals can be an incredibly anxious and stressful environment, which is why a hospital multi-sensory room is designed to release those worries and create a moment of peace for the user. As an example, please read about the benefits of the hospital sensory room we designed at the Medical City Building in Qatar.
Similar to the benefits of sensory rooms in schools, a library sensory room is brilliant if you have a loved one who struggles with dedicated learning, social interaction or concentration skills. The sensory equipment in library sensory rooms allows for an engaging educational and developmental space for all ages.
Every sensory room is tailor-made with the user's abilities and needs in mind to encourage their confidence and self-esteem. For instance, bubble tubes and fibre optics are key players in every sensory room. The fibre optics are completely safe to touch, allowing for an interactive and tactile experience for each user. Whereas the colour changing and moving bubbles engage with the users' attention and encourages a range of skills to be utilised such as communication, interaction and colour recognition.
Here are a few examples of the different types of public sensory room environments that can be created:
1. Calming rooms
These rooms are ultimately designed to create a calm and soothing atmosphere and are most beneficial to individuals who feel agitated or upset. Calming sensory rooms are excellent spaces to have in situations where emotions can be escalated, such as in hospitals, special education schools and airports, to allow all to enjoy their environment peacefully.
2. Dark rooms
Dark rooms tend to be targeted mostly at individuals with visual impairments. The use of bright fluorescent colours against dark backgrounds is a common feature in this type of sensory room, to provide visual stimulation. The vibrant UV lights glow in the dark to allow the user to engage with an exciting and fun environment. Dark sensory rooms have the user's safety in mind, which is why soft furnishings are a common feature to protect the visually impaired.
3. Interactive rooms
Interactive sensory rooms are brilliant when teaching or helping those with sensory needs to comprehend valuable life skills. Interactive rooms intend to get the user to engage with their surroundings and take in the information they are given; perfect for libraries and educational settings.
4. Soft play rooms
Soft play rooms are perfect for children as they offer a safe environment for them to play with the equipment and let off steam. Soft play rooms allow for the use and development of gross motor skills, and most importantly, they're a fun space for all. The sensory equipment is bright in colour, making users want to engage with the sensory room. The strong and durable construction is also quick and easy to clean after each use.
5. Sensory gardens
Outdoor gardens offer a range of benefits by combining sensory equipment with various scented plants, colourful flower beds and the peaceful sounds of birds. This creates a learning environment inspired by nature with the added benefit of specially designed sensory features.
6. Sensory pool
A public leisure centre can offer a unique experience with the use of sensory pools. Sensory pools can be built around existing pools and Jacuzzis using lighting, sounds and other stimulating floating devices in the water to create a fun learning experience. Users can easily swim, float and move around in an exciting environment, making sensory pools a popular choice amongst schools.
For more information on why public airport sensory rooms, sensory rooms in hospitals, and library sensory rooms are beneficial, please read our blog about what a sensory room is used for. Or browse the sensory equipment we recommend in various public establishments.
Here at Experia, we offer some of the finest sensory rooms in the UK. We can help to design a sensory room to suit the specific needs of individuals with a variety of needs. Our friendly team are dedicated to offering comprehensive customer care, support and training packages to those who are relatively new to the world of sensory products.