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Sensory Room Ideas For Autism

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The Sensory Room: Helping Students With Autism Focus and Learn

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Build Foam Play Structures

Students love to jump, crawl, lay, throw, and topple over objects. Purchase some foam play structures for students to do just that in your sensory room. Foam play structures come in a variety of sets, shapes, and colors. They are soft and safe for students to use and hard for them to destroy. These can get a bit pricey but will pay off in the long run.

Image: Abilities.com

Think About Who The Sensory Space Is For

When you think about creating a sensory room, the first thing to consider is who are you building it for. Is it to meet the needs of one child, or many children with different needs?

If you are creating a room for one child, you will be able to tailor the space specifically to their needs. If you are creating a room for multiple children, you will need to consider a variety of needs and how to best meet them all in one space.

This is particularly important for those who require different sensory needs. For example, if one student needs additional sensory input, whereas the other child might be very sensitive clothing or to other sensory information.

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Focus On Light Projections

Most students that venture to the sensory room have a strong sense of curiosity. Let students explore this sense of curiosity with light projectors. Students can gaze at lights along the classroom ceiling or watch the lights as they move around the room. These will not only appeal to students but to teachers as well as this device can easily transform your sensory room into a calming world.

Image: Spectrum Sense for Moms

Have A Weighted Blanket Or Lap Pad

Pin on SPD, autism, allergies, asthma, seizures oh my

Most sensory rooms have weighted products that provide your child with a feeling of being grounded. These feelings are called deep touch pressure, and it helps calm down your child because of the serotonin release.

Put a weighted blanket or lap pads in a basket in the corner of your room. Whenever your child needs the release, they can grab the blanket and cuddle up.

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How To Create A Sensory Room For Your Autistic Child

Very often, children with autism respond positively to certain types of sensory input. Some, for example, find weighted vests and tight clothing calming, while others are able to focus better when engaged in physical activity. Sensory rooms provide a range of calming and stimulating sensory inputs that can be designed for a group or for a particular individual’s needs.

While it’s possible to spend a great deal of money to provide your child with a sensory space that addresses their needs, it’s also quite possible to do the same thing on a very limited budget. The key is to pinpoint the sensory experiences that work best for your child, and then find cost-effective, appropriate products and techniques to provide those experiences.

Safety + Sensory Canopy

Have confidence that your loved one is safe with the mesh and fabric canopy. Each door has a safety pocket + clasp that hide and secure the interior zipper to prevent wandering or falls and ensure a safe sleep.The breathable canopy blocks light, muffles sound and creates a soothing cocoon, free from distraction.The walls are tensioned and separated from the frame to provide padded protection while stimming or having a meltdown.

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Seating For Your Sensory Room

You want to have a comfortable place for your child to recline or lay down in their sensory room. A crash pad is the best way to go, because it is multipurpose. Your child can use it for deep pressure input, anger management, and seating. We prefer Yogibo products, because of their comfort and durability. The Yogibo Max is big enough for adults to comfortably recline or sit on, so its the best deal for the money. If you dont plan on using it for yourself too, the smaller Yogibo Mini is great just for kids.

If the Yogibo isnt in your budget, you can use a bean bag chair from Walmart. A memory foam dog bed is a comfortable and affordable option as well. You can snag one for as little as $20. Check the clearance section of T.J. Maxx for great deals on these too! As a last resort, you can always just throw a pile of pillows and comforters in therekids know what to do with that!

Sensory Challenges And Autism

DIY Sensory Room Tour – Autism Sensory Integration

In 2013, the diagnostic criteria for autism were changed to include “hyper-or hyporeactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of the environment .”

In other words, the vast majority of people on the autism spectrum are either attracted to or are hyper-reactive to sensory input. Many people are both over-reactive and under-reactive to sensory input, depending on the type of input and the context in which it is experienced.

Both anecdotal evidence and research suggest that it is possible to use sensory inputs as a tool to help people with autism “self-regulate,” or manage their own anxiety, stress, and sensory overloads.

Sensory experiences can also help autistic individuals to build their sense of balance, improve core strength, and manage sensory “assaults” such as loud music, fluorescent lights, and strong smells.

The reality is that the research, while positive, is not absolutely conclusive. Yes, sensory therapy and sensory rooms seem to be helpful, but as one review of studies states, “Although small randomized controlled trials resulted in positive effects for sensory integration therapies, additional rigorous trials using manualized protocols for sensory integration therapy are needed to evaluate effects for children with autism spectrum disorders and sensory processing problems.”

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Sensory Toys And Fidgets

Keep several age-appropriate sensory toys and/or fidgets in the room for your child to use and play with.

There are many possibilities depending on what your child likes. I wouldnt keep anything in the room that could get messy like slimes or putties, however here are some toy ideas for your sensory room.

A Sensory Bed And Mattress

Choosing the right mattress for your child can significantly improve his/her sleep patterns. If you find your child wakes up in the middle of the night, it might be caused by discomfort from his/her beds mattress.

There is no specific mattress that defines what makes a sensory bed, so this is something you and your child should discover. Visit a few mattress stores and try out different types of materials.

Memory foam mattresses are popular, but not necessarily a good choice for all children on the spectrum. If your child is a bed jumper, consider a sturdier mattress that can take the pressure and lessen the bounce. Companies like Norixand Autism Sleeps make mattresses designed for children and adults with special needs.

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Cover Up With A Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets have been used to bring comfort to both kids and adults with anxiety. As an adult, they have brought a sense of comfort over me when I start feeling overly stressed/upset. You can purchase 3- to 6-pound weighted blankets for your students to use in the sensory room at your school . Students can snuggle under a blanket to de-stress, look at a book, or simply relax.

Image: Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

What Is Your Budget

Sensory Nooks and Quiet Spaces

The last thing you need to think about before starting to design your sensory room is your budget. How much money are you willing to spend on this project? How much space do you have?

You dont need a lot of money to create a great sensory room. You can find many affordable items and ideas to help you get started. If you have a large budget and plenty of space, you could create an entirely separate room just for different sensory activities.

This would give you complete control over the environment and allow you to create a truly customized space.

If you have a smaller budget or less space, you might want to consider using a corner of another room or even using a tent so it can be set up in different locations.

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Does Your Child Need A Sensory Room

Sensory rooms are fun and many children will enjoy them. If you have the space and want to give your child a load of sensory play on a regular basis, then a sensory room makes sense!

Most often though, sensory rooms are created in a home for children that have daily sensory needs like:

  • Very active, climbs furniture and runs around constantly
  • Easily overstimulated by lights, noise, or people

If youre using a sensory diet or sensory activities on a regular basis, then having a dedicated space for some key sensory toys and tools could be really beneficial. Just remember a sensory room can be simple and doesnt have to involve lots of high ticket items. It can also be inside of a closet or section of a larger room.

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What Are The Benefits Of Sensory Rooms

There are so many benefits to having a sensory room. Its a place where my child can help manage his stress. It helps give him control over his environment. I know how I get when I feel like I dont have control over anything around me. So I can imagine it helps relieve the same stress and anxiety that I sometimes feel.

Whenever one of my sons therapists pulls out a new sensory toy or activity I immediately go to Amazon. I can usually find something comparable. One of the best things I have found is that even if I dont find the exact same product there is always a way to DIY whatever they are working on. One of my sons favorite items is a galaxy bottle that he made during an OT session. They are also called calm down bottles and even though you can buy them online its also fun to make.

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Essential Sensory Room Ideas For Autism

by Spectrum Sense | Mar 11, 2019 | Daily Life, Therapy |

Our sensory room started making SUCH a difference in my boys that I decided to make two more! Maybe our entire house will be one big sensory room one day, lolbut then again, maybe Im going a little overboard with that! Hey, whatever calms the storm, right?! Since we have soooo many sensory items between the three rooms, I figured it was time to share some awesome sensory room ideas with the rest of you!

Ideas For Using A Sensory Room

New sensory room at Robstown ISD helps students with autism

When it comes to using a sensory room, the sky is the limit. There are endless possibilities and ways to tailor the room to meet your childs needs. Whether youre looking for ideas on how to set up a sensory room or ways to use one, weve got you covered.

Some common ways to use a sensory room include:

-Calming: The most common use for sensory rooms is as a calming space. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways depending on your childs needs. For example, if your child is sensitive to light, you might want to consider dimming the lights or using colored lights. If your child enjoys tactile input, you might want to consider adding texture balls, mats, or other objects that they can touch and feel.

-EARLY INTERVENTION/THERAPY: Sensory rooms can also be used for early intervention/therapy. This might include working on fine motor skills by placing objects within reach that your child has to visually track and grasp. It could also include gross motor activities such as crawling through tunnels or climbing on mats or soft objects.

-Exploring: Sensory rooms can also be used as an exploratory space. This might include hiding objects around the room for your child to find or filling the room with different materials that they can touch and feel .

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Ways To Control Noise Stimuli

Many people on the autism spectrum have a heightened awareness of the noises around them. Everyday sounds can cause distress, or the person might be able to pick up noises most of us dont even notice. Thankfully, there are many ways to reduce distracting noise in your home and create a calm environment in their sensory room.

If noise sensitivity is persistent throughout the day, talk to a doctor about other methods such as wearing headphones or earplugs.

Resources

What To Consider When Creating A Sensory Garden

Autistic people are often seen as textbook introverts despite the fact that many of us unabashedly love the outdoors . As such, sensory gardens have become big business for our community in recent years which is something to celebrate considering how, in certain areas, sensory gardens can be seen as sensory rooms 2.0.

Like sensory rooms, sensory gardens are all about creating environments in which a person can better regulate their senses through isolated interactions, only instead of gadgets and enclosed spaces, its garden life and the great outdoors an additional wrinkle which brings with it opportunities to develop creativity, improve time management and catch a sweet tan on a sunny day.

Although sensory gardening doesnt differ much from regular gardening , it does differentiate itself in that, before considering what the garden will grow into, its important to think about how it will shape the autist i.e.

  • Is this a task to build confidence
  • Is this something to help with cooperation
  • Will the garden be somewhere we can go to relax
  • Do you want to hone a particular sense

A list of recommended plants for sensory gardens include:

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What Can The Safespace Hi

A safe bedroom, playroom or chill-out spaceA Safespace can make a huge difference when a person has safety issues, poor sleep patterns or behavioural difficulties. It can provide a safe play space, sleeping space or a calm area. Families often report a big improvement in the life and well-being of the user and a positive impact on the whole family.

SleepA Safespace creates a low stimulation environment which can help with settling at bedtime and improve sleep patterns. It can also provide a safer environment for those who continue to wake at night.Sensory roomWith the option of a white wall and lighting effects, such as our fibre optics kit or special effects projector, the Safespace makes an ideal sensory room. Independence & privacyA separate space to be on your own, to express feelings, especially when upset or agitated, can often be denied to those who need high levels of supervision. A Safespace provides a safe private space, particularly important during the teenage years. This personal space can support the development of behaviour self-management. Family lifeHaving a member of the family with challenging behaviour can be difficult for everyone. Siblings, as well as carers, may have their sleep disturbed or be at risk of injury. The Safespace can enable a family to have a more balanced everyday life. It has been described by parents as bringing peace of mind into the family home.

Get Started With Sensory Room Design From Enabling Devices

How can a Sensory Room help people who suffer from Autism?

Need help getting started? Dont stress. Enabling Devices offers free sensory design services. Just complete our Sensory Room Design Questionnaire and well contact you within 48 hours with expert advice. Planning a fundraising campaign to finance your sensory room? Check out Enabling Devices Fundraising Ideas for a slew of great ideas.

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Sensory Room Equipment & Furniture

Any sensory equipment or furniture is the heart of the room. You want to choose equipment that is durable and supports your childs unique sensory needs.

Whats the goal of your sensory room? Calming? Active? Both?

Furniture and Equipment Ideas

  • Indoor Play Gym This climbing equipment is great because when you arent using it, it folds up almost flat. This makes it workable in smaller spaces or if you just want it out of your way to have some extra playroom sometimes.Once unfolded this wooden indoor play gym gives kids a place to climb, swing, and slide.
  • Swing A sensory swing is a great addition to any sensory room, whether the goal is to be calming or alerting. There are so many benefits to swinging when it comes to sensory integration.
  • Rocking Seating Rocking is a calming source of vestibular input that can help seekers who are constantly moving. If you have enough space for it, this concentration rocker is durable, comfy, and easy to clean.
  • Wobble Board These simple yet extremely versatile boards stimulate the vestibular system and are a great addition to any sensory room. They work great as seating, for balancing on, sliding on, climbing over, etc.

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