As well as the traditional calming use of sensory equipment, dynamic and interactive sensory equipment can change a child's life.
But what is a sensory room? Well, sensory rooms provide a unique sensory experience to people of all sensory abilities. These rooms can help to aid sensory development by guiding individuals through various challenges that target their sensory ability to respond to sensory information correctly. This is best achieved by providing a specially designed space that gives a tailored experience to the individual.
Additionally, sensory rooms can also improve skills such as balance and hand-eye coordination. And of course, sensory rooms can be used purely as a fun treat!
In terms of education, schools can benefit tremendously from a sensory room. For children with sensory issues, developmental disabilities, or learning difficulties, a sensory room can give them a special place to escape to and feel safe and secure in. With a room designed specifically for their needs, individuals have control over what they want to interact with.
These rooms are designed to help people develop skills or cope with symptoms of a condition, such as those who struggle with Autism or Sensory Processing Disorder. For some people with these conditions, everyday life can be an overwhelming and challenging struggle. Sensory rooms provide the perfect setting to face any sensory problems experienced as a result of these disorders.
Whether it be a calming and relaxing environment or a more interactive one, sensory rooms keep learning and development fun.
Here are some ways you can make both a calming sensory room and an interactive sensory room as user friendly and suitable as possible:
When planning a sensory room, you first need to decide on the purpose of the room. Does it need to be calming? Or more interactive? A calming sensory room is good for individuals who are over-sensitive to sensory information. For this environment, you can induce relaxation and calm through a variety of sensory products.
For example, sensory bubble tubes are soothing to watch with the mesmerising movement and changes in soft colours. At the same time, these tubes stimulate visual development and communication skills. Wall mirrors can then be used to give the illusion of multiple tubes.
Additionally, you can introduce soothing sounds, which also promotes sensory development. Projectors are good for providing relaxing visuals while adding interest to the room. These visuals can be changed with a variety of effects wheels. The key is to create a space that is stimulating while remaining a soothing and relaxing space.
Some individuals experience an under-sensitivity to sensory information and can become withdrawn. In this case, having an interactive and stimulating sensory room is ideal. An interactive floor system allows individuals to interact with the image using movement. With a range of games available, such as ‘Scatter the Stars’, and an option to create your own scenarios, there is something for everyone. A superactive LED fibre optic bundle allows individuals to work on their interaction skills through cause and effect and colour recognition.
Wall panels can also be a great asset to a sensory room; there is a large variety of different interactive wall panels, from an interactive LED ladderlight, to a musical touchwall. A musical touchwall has a range of settings that work towards developing life skills, including fine and gross motor skills, shape recognition, and number recognition.
Whether you are in a school, at home, or in another learning environment, the location of a sensory room is key. The ideal space will have no windows to control lighting artificially. However, a sensory space can still be created if a window is present, but all effort to reduce any external light should be made.
Peace and tranquillity are essential for a sensory room, so it’s good to have a room that is away from noise. Accessibility is also extremely important, as well as choosing a space that has enough plug sockets for the sensory equipment to go into.
As well as being fun and relaxing, these rooms induce sensory stimulation, enhance learning and play, improve balance, and more. If you are a school and are thinking about creating a sensory room, read our case studies to see how a sensory room has impacted some of the schools we have worked with.
Don’t be intimidated if you are on a budget; there are plenty of amazing sensory rooms that were built on being creative! Check out our guide to delivering a sensory room on a budget, if you need some inspiration.