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 :)  


Mumx2 said...

To chill out we have choices, to go dancing, recreational drugs, have a drink or 3! Random sex! But our guys do not have this choice to forget/escape their world. Sensory rooms sound an ideal way to loose your self.
I will have one with a glass of wine please!!

jess said...

oh that would be fabulous!

we have this swing ..

which is a MUCH less expensive alternative to the ones found in sensory catalogues, but has served our girl extremely well and calms her immensely.

good luck getting it together. i don't doubt that it will be spectacular!!

Anonymous said...

Wish I had some experience with this area but I'll just have to say- you go girl! and sounds really wonderful!

Maggie May said...

What a marvellous idea! I am really sorry that the large place has had to close down.

Have you thought about getting in touch with The Lottery for funding?
I wish you every success with the brilliant idea.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Anonymous said...

C. is a lucky young man to have you as a mum. Good luck.

Lizbeth said...

Such an awesome idea! The only thing I have is that sometimes music is the ONLY thing that calms my son. Good luck with such a wonderful project!

Ron said...

OMG, how faaaaaaaaaabulous Casdok!!!

And I totally believe that color can alter and affect someone's mood. I've studied a bit about color therapy and have read countless stories of how it really works!!

"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!"

Yup...I agree. We could ALL use some of that!

Wishing you much success in getting this project completed!

X to you and C!

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

This sounds wonderful, I hope all goes as you hope it to.

Akelamalu said...

I do hope you're successful in your search Casdok. :)

autismand said...

Like Jess says, you can get comparable equipment for a fraction of the 'specialist catalogue' cost. We got BB's bubble tube from Argos and it was only £39.99 which I thought was excellent value. Good luck finding stuff.

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow, what an excellent project!

Have you considered putting a donate button on your blog? I would certainly contribute to the cause.

Club 166 said...

What a great idea! Props to you for thinking outside the box.

Good Luck!


Natalia said...

This is really fantastic! I'm so sorry his main place of refuge is closing, but what a great opportunity for you to get creative! We have a play room for our girl, which slowly over time, I've tried to make it a lot more sensory visual. I'm still working on it, but I know it can be done and for not a lot of money either. Good luck to you!

Michelle Morgan-Coole said...

What a great idea!

And how amazing is it that you can take what most of us would only see as a negative and find a way to turn it into something positive? That's called vision and you've got it, lady!

Looking for Blue Sky said...

Smiley loves sensory rooms and I think aspie boy would as well, once they avoided the 'special needs' label. Best of luck with the project, I'm sure there must be cheaper alternatives - for instance from gadget shops and even toy shops perhaps xx

Anonymous said...

These cuts are indeed a damn nuisance and little thought has been put into the effects they are having on our disabled members of society.

But what you are doing is wonderful. I wish you all the luck with this, I'm sure it'll be a huge success.

CJ xx

Jazzygal said...

fantastic! I was rushing to get to the end of this post to say: DO IT YOURSELF! And you are! Wow1 Brilliant move.

A friend of mine was going to set one up in Ireland. She's Dutch and she had linked into a Dutch company who provide the equipment and kit out a room for you. Unfortumately she didn't go ahead with it but it's somenthing that would benedit lots of special needs people and also some elderly people in nursing homes.

So, go for it casdok and best of luck. I'll try find the name of that company if you like...

xx Jazzy

Suburbia said...

Cuts/reform...I am muttering. A lot!

Good luck with the project :-)

secret agent woman said...

Wow what an interesting concept. Those are amazing rooms.

dluvscoke said...

I've heard of these rooms and wondered how I could make them work for my son, Cody, since he is blind as well as autistic

Anonymous said...

I think it's especially important in today's world to have silent spaces to reboot ourselves. Lucky me to live by the woods--nature therapy is a good way to do it.

Anonymous said...

What is your email?

You have given so much in your blog - i would like to give you some money.

Casdok said...

I am very touched - thank you :)

Leigh Forbes said...

I love sensory rooms - particularly as they are usually QUIET. I can imagine, albeit on a different level, what it is like for C to lose this facility. LIke Green Girl in Wisconsin, I usually have to resort to nature therapy (mountains) for my rebooting, and would hate to miss out on that.
As ever, I applaud you for your determination to get the best for him. I cannot think of a way to help just now, but will think on it.
Best of luck to you, lovey. x

Patty O. said...

This is a fantastic idea! I have recently applied for a pepsi refresh grant. I don't know if they do it in the UK, but it's worth looking into. They have grants every single month that they give out. They have $5K, $10K, $20K and $50K.

How it works is once you have applied, you have to get people to vote for your project. Between FB and all your blog followers and all the autism resources online, I bet you could round up tons of votes. Anyway, if you have any questions, let me know. Check out

Tilly said...

Sounds like a great idea. My Nipper is scared of sensory rooms. They seem to be either too dark or too bright for him. He has issues across all his senses but mainly issues with proprioception. For us the best place to visit is one of those kids play warehouses so that he can throw himself around on all the equipment and get the feedback that he needs. Hope you manage to find a grant.

kridors said...

Yes, I am just beginning to learn all about cuts (improvements), as they call it at my daughter's early childhood center, that they are trying to close and integrate the 3-5yr old spec ed kids into area elementary schools. Isn't that just a brilliant idea???

I applaud your resilience! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Stephanie said...

That sounds like a great idea. I'm hoping to renovate our very old, very hard-used home in the near future, and maybe a sensory room instead of a play room would be a good/great idea.

I really should have thought about that.

Lisamaree said...

Set up a fundrazer account and guest post on Irish Autism Action blog - i know that MANY people in Ireland would donate and support you. And maybe one day you will come over and meet some of us. Seriously!!! Please email affinity or message us on Facebook and Jen will set it up.
You give so much solace and hope to us - it would be the least we could do xx

Paulene Angela said...

Coincidence or what, U've just been recommended to a residential home where I have been working that they seriously look into creating a sensory/stim. room.

I love the idea of creating a room for C and his friends.

While working on those grants, some of the banks also have social funds, have a look at if we all gave just a little it would be a lot.

Wishing you all the best.
PS Any luck with finding out the info. for Summer 2011 holidays ?!
Paulene x

Casdok said...

Thank you guys. Am touched. But will see how i go first with the grants. And will get to Ireland one day xx

Paulene - no joy yet...

Anonymous said...

You have a good idea that is most reasonable and possible, I think. While I can't advise on fundraising in the UK I will agree that many similar product/features cost less from non-specialty vendors. Pay close attention to the durability of off-label products, warranty and where the products are made. Give yourself permission to create the 'start' of a room - lighting, auditory softness and comfortable 'furniture'. Items can always be added or changed over time.

Best of luck! Barbara

Chris H said...

I hope you have found the finances for the sensory room. It certainly is a good idea to turn the garage into one.

Gina @ Special Happens said...

Good move. I'm glad the...reductions...have spurred creativity and out of the box thinking. We have a dining room that we don't dine in. Ever. Right now, there's a stream of trains in it. I long ago decided to make it a sensory room for J, but so many other things were going on. This is my project this summer. I'm very excited, as is he. I also just showed him the photos in your post. He and I agreed that the bottom (dark) was the one best for him. Of course, I'll be using some MUCH less expensive items but am hoping to create a good space regardless. Thanks!

Jennifer said...

Definitely a great idea. My daughter's public school created one out of one of the unused gym change rooms.

Elizabeth McClung said...

I think it is a great idea, and I really hope you get a grant to make one. One place that looks very much like the top picture only with a catbus to bonce on or climb in and out of is the Ghibli museum, which combines stained glass lighting with backsets from the films and physical/tactile interactions like the giant plush catbus.

Laurie said...

Love this!!! I am obsessed with environmental psychology and believe that the way parents set up their child's home environment can be either helpful or harmful to how a child reacts in that space. I love all of the amazing pictures you have posted of the examples of different sensory rooms...very cool.

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