Making room for sensitivity

Elementary school creates sensory room for learning support students


The sensory room is filled with a lot of equipment to help students.

Baylee Stewart, Photo/Design Editor (SmugMug)

Walking into the room with the swing in front and the projector pictures on the right. The sound of bubbles rising from the bubble tubes. Bean bags, mats and seats with fiber optic lights fill the room. Objects that stimulate your senses are placed all over the room. All of these tools and activities are placed in the elementary school’s new sensory room, which opened at the beginning of the school year.

In the spring of 2017, as needs have grown among the district’s learning support population, administrators moved to develop the room.

“The sensory room decision was based on the changing needs of our students.  We have students that have a variety of needs that we attempt to meet in the most efficient manner,” Elementary Principal Mr. Rich Edder said

Students with these disorders can exhibit a number of different symptoms.

As an example, students with sensory sensitivities may have an extreme reaction to bright lights, loud noises, textures, smell and tastes,” Director of Special Education Mrs. Misty Slavic said.

The elementary school was the building that was chosen for the sensory room. This assists with addressing the need of a student’s educational career early on. However, any student diagnosed with sensory processing disorders or sensory sensitivity in the district grades K-12 are allowed to use this room.

Included in the room are many different types of relaxing equipment to help these students calm down. There is a bubble tube which is used as a visual, auditory and tactile tool. Another tool in the room is a fiber optic waterfall that is a visual and tactile tool for relaxation. Additionally, a SNAP projector wheel which projects calming pictures on the wall for students to look at and a textured/tactile wall help students with visual focus, concentration and tactile activities. There is also scent activities and textured balls along with many more to complete the room. All of this equipment was put into thought as to which would help students the most.

“The bubble tubes are the most popular; it seems to be the thing that catches everyone’s eye right when you first walk in,” learning support teacher Mrs. Lauren Harley said.

Many goals are wanted with this room. The district wants to help the students in our schools with these problems. Freedom wants to provide awareness of the sensitivity disabilities and give an interesting atmosphere that is comfortable to these students.

To have a positive therapeutic effect on the user which extends outside of the sensory environment,” Slavic said.

The sensory room helps the students transition and calm down when needed. If the students need help transitioning, when they need it they can go into the room and come back to class more relaxed than before. The vibrating pad and the swing are two tools that can help the students relax if they need to calm down. The bubble tubes are also another tool to help calm students down.

Slavic, Edder and many other faculty are willing and working to provide the most for students who need this help.