What Should a School Sensory Room Provide?
A sensory room can benefit pupils with specific conditions or difficulties, such as autism, behavioural issues or anxiety.
It can work as an educational space, or simply a safe space for those who would finding attending a mainstream school challenging. Depending on its setting, the sensory room, may have a number of labels, such as a quiet zone or calming room.
Regardless of how it is labelled in a particular context, the school sensory room should employ sensory-controlled techniques and the right environment to help those individuals who otherwise experience a kind of sensory overload.
It is a quiet space that stimulates, develops and relaxes. As such, it should allow the children using it a large degree of autonomy, where they can explore the environment for themselves.
Because the sensory room may need to provide different environments, such as soothing or stimulating, it is important that their design and installation meets a school’s specific requirements.
Typical School Sensory Room Features
A school sensory room’s décor can include low lighting, adjustable light projections, mirrors and bubble tubes. It may have a soundtrack of various sounds or soft music.
It should have comfortable seating areas and various soft play shapes that pupils can pick up and examine. Protective floor mats and wall padding help reinforce this safe environment.
Some of these features are optional or changeable, but there are certain fundamentals when it comes to school sensory room safety.
Key Sensory Room Considerations
The first important consideration for a school sensory room is location.
It makes sense that it should be away from busy areas and external noise sources. Sound insulation is essential, whether by using lining materials or through the thickness of the walls.
Size and shape are next. Sensory rooms can be smaller, or, if the individual is going to interact with multiple objects, larger spaces.
Because the room will be closed in to maximise the user’s experience, ventilation is highly important. For the comfort and health of the room’s users, there should also be sufficient air conditioning and heat, depending on the time of year and conditions inside the sensory room.
Lighting should be soft, such as spotlights. Avoid fluorescent lighting as the noise this often generates has the potential to disrupt the sensory experience.
Colour is critical. If the sensory room will be using a projector to shine different colours on the walls then a white or other plain pale colour scheme will be best. Some sensory rooms are painted to follow a particular theme, and some use dark greens or blues as the best setting for ultraviolet lighting.
Floor coverings should be laid in such a way as to avoid trip hazards.
All electrical outlets and wiring should be concealed and protected.