What is Sensory Environmental Control?
Multisensory rooms and products are of huge benefit to individuals with autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s and other limited abilities. It’s important to remember that everyone with these challenges is unique and tolerates different levels of sensory stimulation, so often a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t ideal. For those prone to sensory overload, having the ability to control the levels of sensory stimuli is important. You can find out more about the 7 sensory overload symptoms to look out for in our blog post. This is where sensory environment control comes in. It’s as simple as it sounds – controlling a sensory environment.
Let’s explore some of the other benefits of environmental control in sensory rooms.
Benefits of Sensory Environmental Control
Providing environmental control in sensory rooms, offices, playrooms or bedrooms allows you to tailor the levels of sensory stimulation to the user. Did you ever stop to realize the number of times you flip on a switch, click on an email, turn on a light or ignite an engine? Each time you touch a button or a switch you're creating an effect - you're being the instigator.
Environmental control switches and devices put an individual in control of his or her environment. And of those with limited abilities or neurological challenges such as Alzheimer’s, ADHD, Autism, Executive Functioning Disorder or Sensory integration disorder, that is quite powerful not to mention therapeutic. Being in control of the external environment can release endorphins and stimulate dopamine receptors much as you might get from exercising.
As well as being able to tailor the sensory environment to the individual using it, there are many more benefits to setting up an environment with control switches. Let's take a look at some of those:
- Reduces Anxiety: Controlling one’s environment can reduce anxiety. For those suffering from OCD, this need to control an environment can be obsessive and yet putting them in control when they are not obsessing may actually reduce the need at other times. With anxiety reduced, we see a somewhat different brain emerge that can then regulate emotions more effectively.
- Promotes Problem-Solving: How do I get that light to turn on? That fan to blow? That sound to go off? Environmental control in sensory rooms can encourage problem-solving at a basic level. This then has the potential to overflow into other areas of development. From learning to manipulate the iPad to control the flow of color to learning how to change the scene on the floor or wall, problem-solving is a key component to environmental control.
- Encourages Creative Thinking: What do I want to happen? Can I make it happen? With the frontal brain no longer monitored, and anxiety and frustration removed, the creative process can begin. The user can make the room red, orange, purple or green and can create a sound that is appealing, calming or alerting.
- Enhances Social Intelligence: For emotional wellbeing, an environment with control switches can provide the space for calm social interaction. Within each environment, you can place “talkers” and “listeners.” A sensory area is no longer threatening, and there is no competition. Everyone is on equal ground, which means we can learn and engage together. Often those who are normally withdrawn will come to find their voice, and those who are highly vocal will come to find their own peace and quiet using controls that talk and listen!
Your interactive room or space cannot only provide the above benefits but it can also be highly therapeutic and have long-term effects. Choosing the right environmental controls can be the difference between a passive and interactive sensory room experience.
Products for Environmental Control in Sensory Rooms
Calming, Superactive, or IRiS? Let us help you decide and guide you in choosing the right environmental control experience in a multisensory room. When you enter a multisensory room you will notice an array of colors, lights, sounds, and textures. Our calming equipment is designed for interaction and ,by nature, is very soothing and relaxing. Yet, did you know you can choose to set your room up with equipment that offers you even more control options with our Calming, Superactive, and IRiS tools.
All three options can be used for environmental control in sensory rooms, catered to individual needs. Let's take a look at the differences between the sensory room equipment.
Calming Multisensory Equipment for Sensory Environmental Control
Experia USA's Calming range of products is designed to calm and relax individuals in certain settings. Simply plug them in and enjoy the lighting as each calming product slowly cycles through a rainbow of colors! You can use calming sensory equipment for those environments where interaction is not necessarily a requirement but calming and relaxation is needed. This can be appropriate in cases where behavioral modification or anxiety reduction is the goal. For more help with reducing anxiety, please read our 8 tips to reduce anxiety. Calming equipment can also be a great fit for a waiting room area. We also have a guide to creating the perfect multisensory waiting room to help you. You can choose from calming bubble tubes, fiber optics, infinity tunnels and many others in our calming line.
Superactive Multisensory Equipment for Environmental Control in Sensory Rooms
The Superactive range of products allows the user a wonderful level of control over their environment, perfect for designing a sensory room. All Superactive products can be controlled with a standard 8 color wireless controller or the wireless Maze Controller! The standard 8 color wireless controller is included with all our Superactive products unless otherwise specified, or you can order both controllers while adding your selection to the shopping cart. By having a wireless controller, those who need control over their environment will have it. This would be an excellent choice to offer sensory activities for Alzheimer's patients, those with sensory processing disorder, or someone with low response levels needing to learn cause and effect. Check out the Superactive LED Bubble Wall, Superactive LED Fiber Optic Bundle or Superactive LED Star Panel.
IRiS for Sensory Environmental Control
An IRiS multisensory room experience is ideal for individuals who need to control multiple pieces of equipment from a single wireless switch. This may be ideal as environmental control for autism or those with a mild cognitive impairment who can benefit from a higher level of interaction. IRiS Wireless Sensory Products are exclusive to Experia allowing full control of your sensory room using Talkers (switches or controllers like the Color Selector, Qube, or Balance Beam) and Listeners (like bubble tubes, fiber optics, or bubble walls). An IRiS room can provide the most flexibility in the level of engagement you need for your facility or user.
Providing sensory environmental control that caters to the facility or individuals can allow you to evaluate, adjust, and slowly engage a higher level of interaction as may be indicated. A multisensory expert is advisable to help you not only provide the best tools, but to enjoy your multisensory environment at its best. If you're thinking about designing a sensory room, our sensory equipment provides the perfect solution.