A multisensory room is an essential part of a sensory diet, or as we like to think, a sensory massage. It is to the senses what a workout is to the body. The long-lasting benefits of being in a sensory room can range from feeling more calm, organized, focused or at peace to more energized and alert. A sensory room can vary in size and features to meet the needs of an entire special needs program, school, senior living center, camp or office.
A multisensory room can even be used for reducing aggression as part of a behavioral and social-emotional program. These soothing spaces can also be designed for office spaces, clinics or individual rooms in a home. So, you can create your own multisensory room to fit your particular needs. Before you begin to design your room, we think a few key points are important to keep in mind.
Where are you planning to place your multisensory room or space? Having a dedicating room or space is important and preferably one that is away from too much noise and chaos. Windows can be covered, but a darkened room without windows works best. Do you have enough electrical outlets around the room to accommodate sensory equipment?
What are the goals of your room: calming, alerting, reorganizing, or soothing? Have you selected equipment to help you meet the goals of your room?
How many people will be using your space? Have you selected tools to meet the demands of all your users? Who will be supervising your space, checking up on equipment maintenance, and keeping it in order? Do they understand the purpose of the room and how to monitor or make adjustments?
At the base of a sensory room are its visual components. This can be as simple as a bubble tube or more of a surround-room look from a mirror ball or projector with effects wheels. Most every sensory room has LED lighting that comes from bubble tubes or fiber optics. These are 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 skills and awareness skills yet also provide relaxation and decrease stress levels.
A sensory room can have a great effect on the auditory system through the use of music and digital sound as well as interactive sound panels. For those with auditory defensiveness or sensitivities, the sound system used in a sensory room can regulate their auditory responses.
Though most equipment in a sensory room is touch-friendly, what’s quite a sensory stimulator is the ability to touch and engage with the equipment while getting a visual or auditory response. In addition, you can use an interactive ball pool or gross motor bundle as a full body hands-on experience. You may also like using many of the interactive wall panels.
By using aromatherapy your sensory space can instantly create a calm or alerting mood. Whereas lemon and peppermint are alerting, lavender and sage are more calming. But choose your own scents for the effect you like.
Your sensory space should feel like a welcome hug, so setting it up properly can help to enhance the effects of the environment. Be sure your room is always well supervised and monitored not only for safety but also for protocol and how it is used. We are here to help, so let us know how we can assist you to set up the ideal sensory room environment.
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