A sensory room is a room which is specifically designed to give users a sensory experience. The room can be as big or small as you like and will be filled with equipment, toys, materials and technology which provides stimulation for the senses.
What do you usually find in a sensory room?
A sensory room is tailored to fit the individuals who use the space and may be filled with a variety of equipment, which is designed specifically to provide a sensory experience. Examples of things you might find in a sensory room include:
- Lights: this may include plastic tube lighting, fibre optic lights, different coloured lights, dimmer lights, mirror balls.
- Noises: most sensory rooms have CD players, tape players or iPod docks so that people can listen to different types of music. Music is usually used to calm people down. Other auditory equipment and items may also be used, including wind chimes and sound machines.
- Touch: sensory rooms usually contain a range of different materials, which enables the individual to touch and feel different textures. The sensory room may contain cushions, bean bags, soft play mats. The sensory room may also have equipment such as tactile walls, foam books, sponges and tactile puzzles.
What are the benefits of a sensory room?
Sensory rooms can have benefits for everyone but may be particularly beneficial for children and adults with special needs, behavioural disorders, sensory processing disorders and disabilities. Sensory rooms are multi-functional and can help to stimulate the senses, as well as relaxing and calming people down. Senses can be stimulated by following flashing, colourful lights, pressing buttons, hearing noises and sounds and feeling different textured materials, but the sensory room can also have a calming influence. The exciting flurry of lights and sounds can quickly be adapted to create a calming, relaxing environment, where people can lie back and be soothed by dim, slow lighting, pleasant, soothing smells and calming music.
The sensory room can be beneficial for many different people. For people with disorders or conditions that affect their senses, the sensory room can help to stimulate their senses and help them to gain a sensory experience, develop new skills and explore their senses. For children with behavioural disorders, a sensory room can help them to take time out and calm down when they are getting anxious and unsettled.
Who can benefit from a sensory room?
Anyone can benefit from a sensory room but they are usually found in children’s nurseries and health centres, clinics and facilities which cater for both adults and children with disabilities, special needs and sensory processing disorders.