Multisensory rooms can be incredibly beneficial to an autistic person. Featuring a combination of sensory lights for autism, selected auditory systems, and specialized furniture, it can provide the perfect space for developing communication skills and thought processes.
Autism can impact a person’s ability to interact and process information that they receive from their environment. Each individual is different, and the environment that you create should reflect their unique needs. Here are some tips for creating a sensory room for autism.
Designing your room
Hyposensitive individuals will experience the understimulation of one or more of their senses. They will struggle to receive sufficient sensory input from their environment, causing them to seek it through activities such as rocking (balance), listening to loud music (auditory), or hitting things (tactile). To help get the most from their multisensory room session, we would recommend investing in our Superactive or IRiS sensory equipment which is designed to stimulate.
Other autistic people may experience hypersensitivity, making them prone to sensory overload. To provide the best experience for a hypersensitive adult or child, browse our range of calming sensory products.
All our Superactive and IRiS products can also be used in calming mode, making them an excellent choice for rooms that are designed for people of varying abilities.
Benefits of Multisensory Rooms
- Focus and Alertness
By fulfilling sensory needs, multisensory rooms can help individuals to focus more at school, work, or at home for enhanced learning and development.
A study looked at the effects of a sensory room on two students who experience overstimulation, often resulting in task avoidance and aggression (Viola & Noddings, 2006). The study found that:
“Over a period of one week, Lee and Steve went to the sensory room twice for approximately thirty minutes, each time. Once they returned to the classroom, they sat at their seats, worked diligently on their assignments, and they did not require any prompts to refocus.” (See more)
Our Handy Hint: Sensory room designs require the help of a professional that understands your requirements, as well as the needs of the people who will use the room. Contact Experia USA today to find out more.
Autistic people that are acutely sensitive to their environment can easily become overwhelmed. When this happens, a multisensory room can provide a calming, relaxing, and safe place where they can de-escalate.
Our Handy Hint: For the best results, make sure your sensory room is clean and regularly maintained. You should also take off your shoes to keep the space hygienic and add to its relaxed atmosphere.
Sensory activities and equipment can really help individuals to relax, and this can aid with communication. In fact, a study by Kingwood into the effects of sensory activities on autistic people found that “providing the right sensory props in the most appropriate sensory setting for the individual can promote concentration and social interaction during the activity.”
Our Handy Hint: To get the most from the session, try to limit the number of participants to one or two people with a trained facilitator. A 20-30 minute session each day works best. If not daily, we recommend that you organize sessions to take place on a regular basis.
- Cause and Effect
Autistic people that struggle with sensory processing can find it difficult to understand cause and effect - how one action can result in another event occurring. A multisensory room offers its users complete control over their environment, allowing them to interact with their environment safely and develop this crucial skill.
Our Handy Hint: Remember, this is not a goal-oriented room. It is a room about processes, journey, and self-directed interaction.
Multisensory Room Ideas by Location
Multisensory rooms are an excellent way to make schools and other learning environments more inclusive. Custom multisensory interactive learning environments (M.I.L.E.) can make the experience deeply engaging, regardless of ability level. Learn more about Experia M.I.L.E. rooms here.
A library is an excellent location for a multisensory room, and it can be a real asset to the community. It will provide essential support for the parents and caregivers that look after people with more severe cases of autism, and it will double as a fun and themed setting for group activities.
We would recommend adding soft pads to your floor for extra comfort during story time sessions. Fiber optic softies can also provide a visual and tactile experience for visitors.
Hospitals can be challenging environments for anyone. However, they can be even more uncomfortable for an autistic person. Different surroundings, strangers, and crowded areas can all be scary and unfamiliar, and harsh lighting and loud noises can cause a sensory overload.
We recommend that hospitals install a sensory room where patients or visitors who might struggle with these environments can go to calm down. We also supply portable sensory equipment that can easily be moved between rooms.
Adding specialized equipment to your home multisensory room can make a real difference to an autistic person who struggles with sensory processing. Experia USA provides a wide variety of products for bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as custom solutions to suit your home and budget.