What’s In Our New Sensory Room?
We recently shared an update about the completion of our wonderful new sensory room. Today, we thought we would share some of the sensory equipment that our young people enjoy using in this calm and tranquil space. Rachel McCartney, our Speech and Language Therapist has written some information that we hope you’ll find to be insightful.
This helps support and develop the tactile (touch) sensory system. The different surfaces and shapes support individuals to coordinate movements, develop fine motor skills (through opening/closing locks, pressing buttons, zips, switches, laces, etc) and differentiate textures. Having something to fidget and touch may also support the individual to calm down when upset or anxious by allowing the brain to focus on what the hands are doing, rather than what is causing stress.
Bubble tubes are large water-filled tubes that contain colour-changing lights at the bottom. Water is pumped around a tube while the light at the bottom is constantly changing colour. Air is blown into the tube making bubbles shimmer and flicker, resulting in a calming effect that also draws the attention of the individual. In addition, the air being blown into the tube creates soft vibrations to allow tactile feedback.
Bubble tubes are both attention-grabbing and mesmerising, but also calming and soothing. They are a great way to encourage visual development and communication skills.
These are groups of string-like lights or strands that support and develop both the visual and tactile sensory systems. Fibre optics provide a stimulating, yet safe, interaction without electricity or heat. The interaction is relaxing, bright, and colourful, and it supports the development of cause and effect as well as a calming visual effect when an individual is anxious or upset.
These large peanut-shaped exercise balls are used for balance and coordination training, strengthening, gross motor, and proprioceptive (our awareness of our bodies and what they are doing without having to look) activities. They are stable and easy to sit on (due to the ‘dip’ in the middle) to develop core stability and strength. In addition, pressure can be safely applied using the ball to allow the individual to calm down.
This provides ‘water effect’ lighting and a variety of nature sounds that supports both visual and auditory feedback and development. These are both known to create a calming and relaxing effect on the mind which helps decrease stress and anxiety by shifting focus from thoughts and stresses to the soothing lights and sounds in the sensory environment.
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