Monday, 23 May 2011

Sensory Rooms

Our senses - a constant stream of information - hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste being the ones we first think of but there are many others all working together – affecting each other – different intensities at different times – ‘a concert piece of stunts’ Barry Smith.

There’s also the sense of balance, temperature, proprioception, pain, acceleration and not forgetting internal senses of hunger, thirst, breathing, heartbeat, bladder/bowels, itches, sensitivities to different allergies, muscle tension, the sense of time. Etc. etc. And for C the array of senses that stimming and self-injury creates.

Many people are hypersensitive and/or hyposensitive. C lives in a very sensory world. And depending how he feels at any one time depends how he handles filtering the flood of sensory information. This can be overwhelming and cause C to fragment resulting in him hurting himself to try and block out the huge sensory distress.

As C has become older he has learnt different ways to self-regulate his environment when he can to cut out some of the bombardment. Fingers firmly in ears, poking his fingers in his eyes, humming and of course banging his head to block out some of the sensory pain and makes other people control the sensory input around him if they can.

So to have a room - a haven an oasis of calm where one can go to chill out, to relax, to process info in a controlled safe secure environment for people with huge sensory integration issues is sooo beneficial on many different levels.

The Sensory room that C goes to regularly because of cuts reform has closed which means not just one less activity for C but an activity that C got a lot out of.

There are different types of Multi-sensory rooms

White rooms

Dark rooms

Can calm or energise

A fab place to do some Intensive Interaction.

Research around these rooms has proved beneficial for pain control, ageing, mental health, strokes, brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorders, Alzheimer’s and autism with less aggression and self injury.

These rooms enhance development of senses such as hearing, sight, smell, touch, memory and attention. They encourage spatial awareness, concentration, relaxation, imagination and alertness improving communication and vocalisation. Motor and cognitive development.

They can improve mood which gives you respite from overwhelming sensations and continuous self-regulating so restoring your spoons, balancing health and harmony.

I think we could all use some of that!

So instead of being upset about C’s sensory room closing it gave me an idea that I am very excited about. C’s home has a disused double garage which would be perfect for a multi-sensory room. And would mean C and his house mates could benefit from it every day as and when needed.

So I have started to look for grants. And am researching alternative cheaper options for some of the fantastic equipment that you can get these days. All ideas welcome. Have you a favorite?

It’s a positive project to do in times of cuts reform as they are already impacting on C’s life. And a positive project working together with the other parents and staff to benefit everyone :)