If you have ever stepped into a multi-sensory room, you have immediately experienced a kind of sensory massage. The benefits of being in a sensory room can range from calming to organizing to alerting. A sensory room can range in price, size, and features to meet the needs of an entire special needs program, school or camp.
Sensory spaces can also be designed for office spaces, clinics or individual rooms. And they can also be assembled for a home or even a small corner or closet. Before you begin to design your sensory room, we think a few key points are important to keep in mind. Let's take a closer look:
Location:Where are you planning to place your sensory room or corner? Will you need electrical outlets and are they accessible? Are you going to use natural lighting or sensory room lighting? Is it noisy near your sensory room or can you set it up in a quiet location?
Goals:What are the goals of your room? Calming, alerting, reorganizing, soothing? Have you selected equipment to help you meet the goals of your room?
Users:How many people will be using your sensory room? Have you selected therapeutic tools to meet the demands of all your users?
Supervision:Who will be supervising your sensory room, checking up on equipment maintenance, and keeping it in order? Does the supervisor understand the purpose of the room and how to monitor or make adjustments?
Visual:At the base of a sensory room are its visual components. This can be as simple as a lava lamp or more of a surround room look from a mirror ball or projector with effect wheels. Most every sensory room has a bubble tube and fiber optic strands. These can be interactive, remotely controlled or set to a certain color or pattern. These visual tools are designed to orient yet calm the nervous system. Changing colors can improve visual tracking and awareness skills yet also provide relaxation and decrease stress levels.
Auditory:A sensory room can have a great effect on the auditory system through the use of soothing sounds, music and interactive sound panels. For those with auditory defensiveness or sensitivities, the sound system used in a sensory room can regulate their auditory responses.
Touch:Though most equipment in a sensory room is touch friendly, the ability to touch a panel, screen or bubble tube and watch the effects that occur is quite a sensory stimulator. In addition, you can use a ball pit as a full body massage or add vibro-acoustic furniture to engage a full body response.
Smell:Using aromatherapy in your sensory space can instantly create a calm or alerting mood. Whereas lemon and peppermint can be used to alert, lavender and sage can be used to calm.
Movement:An action-based sensory room can be full of movement equipment such as climbing walls or trampolines whereas a calming room can have tools such as balance beams or gentle swings to stimulate vestibular movement.
We hope this checklist can serve as a helpful guide for whatever type of sensory room you're building! If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to us. We love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Share with us in the comments, at [email protected] or on our social media pages!