What is a Sensory Room?
A sensory room is a specially designed space which features a range of apparatus and technology designed to help people develop and engage with their surroundings. Equipment included usually incorporates lights, colour, sounds, soft play areas and aromas – all within a safe place which allows users to explore their environment in a safe way.
Sensory rooms are typically used by people with learning difficulties, developmental disabilities or sensory impairments and can be installed in a variety of places. Care centres, hospitals and educational facilities are just some of the places you may find a sensory room; they can even be installed in domestic properties for families to enjoy.
What are the benefits of installing a sensory room?
There are a range of benefits that sensory room users can benefit from; this is all dependant on the individual and what they respond to. Some of the benefits include;
Stimulation and engagement – by providing a space that is stimulating, a user can be encouraged to interact with their surroundings and explore. This type of play can encourage some people to then begin to engage with the world around them when not in a sensory room.
Learning through play –sensory rooms can help engage different areas of the brain; this is particularly beneficial to children who are more receptive to learning when in such an environment. Sensory rooms can help people absorb and retain information easier, making learning less stressful.
Improved motor skills – day to day living can be improved with the use of a sensory room as some people who use them are able to develop better visual processing abilities, fine and gross motor skills and awareness of the world around them.
Calming behaviour – sensory rooms are particularly helpful for people who are overactive or become easily distressed. A calming sensory room can provide relief for those who struggle with the world around them and express this with behaviour that may be harmful to themselves and others.
Sensory rooms are also useful tools for therapists, carers and parents to help understand the individual they are working with. By observing reactions and play in a sensory room, care givers can work out what the user responds positively or negatively to. This information can then be used in other situations to help provide better care or enhanced learning for people with learning difficulties.