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All About Sensory Rooms

July 18, 2018

Why do we need Sensory Rooms? 
Children and adults have a tendency to become over - or under - stimulated by their surrounding environment. It was my goal to create a Sensory Room at Ogden with equipment, materials and resources available for sensory input. Our students have unique learning differences and it's important to build time into our schedules and curriculum for sensory breaks to help students who are over or under stimulated learn to make positive choices to balance their sensory lives. 


What is a Sensory Room? 
A Sensory Room is a safe place where students or adults can go to relax, be creative and stimulate and develop their minds. This room is NOT used for a student to calm down or as a reward for positive behaviors. It is tailored to the needs of our diverse learners as well as our students with various sensory needs and used as a scheduled intervention, which is part of a student's curriculum and educational program. Students learn about the 7 sensory systems and the equipment and tools they need to help themselves feel more organized, relaxed and focused.  

 

What are the 7 sensory systems? 

The following is a list of the 7 sensory systems and how they can be used to create sensory balance through developing and engaging our senses:
1. Visual- LED lights, bubble tubes, and ocean wave projectors can stimulate or calm the sense of sight. 

2. Auditory- Soft instrumental music, and meditation produce a very calming vibe, while sound therapy pillows stimulate the sense of hearing.

3. Olfactory- Lavender essential oil, scented markers, lotion and chapstick can stimulate or sooth the sense of smell.
4. Oral- Flavored chew tools, straws, whistles, harmonicas, recorders, pinwheels, and bubbles can stimulate or calm urges in the mouth.
5. Tactile- Mermaid sequin pillows, interactive felt boards, fine motor games, liquid floor tiles, fiber optics, fidget toys, sensory brushes, and massaging tools can stimulate or calm the sense of touch.
6. Proprioception-A squeeze machine, ball pit, tunnel, sensory sock, weighted blanket, progressive muscle relaxation and wrist weights can stimulate or calm the sense of body awareness in space.
7. Vestibular- A sensory swing, rocking chair, rocking horse, balance beam, spinning pod chair and stability ball can stimulate or calm the sense of balance.

 

What are the benefits of a Sensory Room?

A Sensory Room can help rebalance a person. Here’s the impact we’ve seen in the students at Ogden:
•           Increased attention and focus
•           Reduced agitation and anxiety
•           Increased positive behaviors and motivation
•           Increased positive decision-making to balance sensory lives
•           Increased communication
•           Increased appreciation for the love of learning

 

What is a sensory diet and how can it help me?
A sensory diet is a data designed, personalized activity plan that provides the sensory input a person needs to stay focused and organized throughout the day. Sensory diet activities are different for everyone, depending on what you need to stay regulated. Activities are listed in a routine and can involve any of the 7 sensory systems and tools listed above. Sensory diets help us because they improve the brain's ability to process sensory information so that we are able to stay in contact with our surroundings.  

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