This year as the school year begins at Ingleside Primary School in Ingleside, Texas or the Robert Driscoll Elementary School in Robstown, Texas, the children will have the privilege of spending time in a quality multisensory room, as part of their routine. The multisensory rooms are designed specifically for each school and the unique children they serve, meeting sensory needs in the classroom.
Multisensory rooms are not exclusive to these two schools, and as populations become more specialized and sensory needs in the classroom become more specific, educational institutions are turning to provide specialized resources such as multisensory rooms. These unique rooms provide the sensory diet, the calm, and the stimulation that many children with autism, ADHD, behavioral challenges and unique learning styles need on a regular basis. Let’s take a closer look at some of the features and benefits:
Controlled Lighting Provides Visual Calm and Stimulation
A multisensory room is equipped with controlled lighting that has been selected to encourage visual processing, visual tracking, visual memory, and as a result, focus and calm. Whether you have students who are visually under-responsive or visually excitable, choosing items such as bubble tubes, fiber optic lights, projectors with themed patterns, or cascading lights can help encourage visual processing and eye control without over-stimulation.
Sound and Vibration Encourage Active Listening
Our hearing is quite complex but works through a form of vibration. This means that vibration and sound are nearly one and the same though produced at different frequencies. A multisensory room uses controlled sound and sound vibration to reach students through listening and hearing. For those with auditory processing challenges, equipment such as selected speakers, interactive sound walls, specific music, or sound responsive switches can help them not only understand sound but regulate their own sounds.
Touch Surfaces Help to Modulate How and When to Touch
After the mouth, touch is the second most prominent means of communication, and for some, it is the primary means. For those with limited sight, touch is the way into the world. Using a touch panel or tactile surfaces, including but not limited to switches and interactive boards, can help engage and awaken the sense of touch. This can translate into the better and more appropriate use of the hands for activities of daily living, writing, and fine motor skills.
Interaction Teaches Cause and Effect
Not only does a multisensory room appeal to the senses, but this idea of interaction means I can control my environment, and though subtle, this can translate a message of cause and effect, safety and security, and self-assurance. In addition, we see that using items with wireless switch-activated controllers like Superactive or IRiS sensory equipment, means that we can cause and learn all while in a multisensory room environment, and then take those lessons back into the classroom.
Aromatherapy Can Be An Added Benefit
And let’s not forget the effects of smell. Combining aromatherapy with your multisensory environment enhances the experience, whether you are looking to improve alertness with focus and attention, or induce calm and regulation. A diffuser can bring scents to your entire multisensory room experience, or drops can be placed on one area where you'd like to concentrate the effects.
Sensory equipment for schools can provide the outlet your special needs students require during each school day and become a source of therapy, learning, and emotional well-being for everyone involved.