School communities are seeing more sensory rooms and sensory spaces in schools, which is fabulous.
Sensory rooms and spaces have many benefits and are not just for kids and young people with neurodiverse superpowers. But other kids can benefit from these fabulous spaces. Whether it be for time out when things get too much, or they’re going through a tough time and need a safe space.
What are sensory rooms?
For those who aren’t entirely in the know or familiar with the sensory room concept, it’s an intentional room or space created to support students and young people’s sensory needs.
These beautiful spaces help kids to calm and focus, so they’re ready to learn and interact with others.
Not all schools have a sensory room set up. Instead, they might use sensory activities and resources to create a sensory space within the student’s regular classroom or learning space.
It just comes down to the funding and resources of the school and the student’s needs to what sort of set-up the school has.
How sensory rooms in schools can help students of all abilities
Sensory rooms have many benefits and should be made available to all students, in our opinion, regardless of whether they have a disability or unique superpower.
Here are our top 9 sensory room benefits
- Help improve focus and concentration in students
- Provide a calm and relaxing environment for students to escape to
- Sensory rooms and spaces can help support autistic kids learning in a school environment
- A space to retreat to for self-regulation
- Encourages socialisation
- A safe space if stressed or overwhelmed by exams or tests
- Supports motor skill development
- Encourages exploration
- Builds confidence in your young person
Simple sensory room ideas
Have you been thinking about creating a fabulous sensory space at home or speaking to your child’s educators about creating one at school?
Here are some calming sensory room ideas for you to use at home or to pass on to your child’s teachers and educators to use:
- soft materials
- diffused lighting
- pleasant aromas
- soothing sounds
- weighted toys or blankets
- bean bags or bean bag chair
- LED lights
- sensory tent
- paint the walls a calming colour
- plastic bottles or containers filled with rice are a budget-friendly yet effective sensory toy idea
These are great for kids with sensory issues or who just need a little time out. Remember first and foremost to make the room design or space inviting and safe too.
Autism sensory rooms
Sensory rooms are a fabulous tool for autistic kids or young people.
It’s the perfect space for kids who are heightened or stressed by a situation or event to calm down and allow them to refocus without the stress of being in an environment with a lot of people, etc.
Sensory rooms and what not to do
We’ve touched on the many benefits of sensory rooms and sensory spaces. But I also wanted to highlight how these rooms and areas shouldn’t be used.
We shouldn’t see these rooms and spaces being used for problematic or challenging behaviour. Sensory rooms shouldn’t be a room students go to if they’re misbehaving. If they have learning challenges or disabilities and need somewhere to calm down and self-regulate or one of the many benefits we mentioned above. In that case, that’s different and one of the many uses sensory rooms are for.
But it’s not somewhere to send kids that aren’t conforming or as a consequence for bad behaviour. Remember, behaviour is communication and often the "bad" behaviour is just the kids asking for help in a different way.
Sensory rooms and sensory spaces are for providing a positive experience. Although, personally, I wouldn’t mind if my family sent me to a sensory room for some time out daily. 😉 But it’s not something we want kids or educators to get into the habit of doing.
How can we help with your sensory room or sensory space
We’re big believers here at Sensory Oasis for Kids that we can help all students reach their full potential by creating sensory spaces in schools.
Want some help creating your sensory room or space? Visit us in-store at our Altona North store or visit us online. If you have questions, we’re just a phone call or website chat support message away.