The launch of the sensory room at Holy Family National School, Rathcoole
This week, we were thrilled to be at the launch of the sensory room in Holy Family National School, close to us here in Rathcoole village. Miss Clare Melia really drove this project with support from Principal Colm Byrne. She explained to us how the room, which is already in use, is helping children with special needs in the school every single day. We were very happy to have contributed to making the room a reality.
Caption: Miss Clare Melia, special needs coordinator, with Sandra Donovan at the launch of the sensory room.
So, what is a sensory room?
A sensory room or multi-sensory room is a special room kitted out with features that help children with conditions like autism who find it difficult to process sensory stimulation. The rooms are dual purpose in that they can be calming places, away from busy and noisy classrooms, and they can also stimulate the senses to help children learn more about interacting with the world around them.
The sensory room at Holy Family NS has the following features:
The bubble tube is the focal point of the room. Bubble tubes provide multi-sensory feedback and stimulate the visual system. The colour-changing aspect promotes colour recognition and visual perception. In the photo below, it looks like there are three bubble tubes but there is one, reflected in mirrors all around. Mirrors play a key role in emotional development and facial recognition.
Real-effect grass makes a great tactile floor surface. Tactile panels made from different textures are great for exploration and sensitivity and can be installed seamlessly into the grass. Multi-tactile panels with varied intensities complete a tactile maze that encourages exploration.
The ever-changing image thrown by a projector provides sensory stimulation.
A bean bag specially designed to create compression on the thighs promotes calmness. It works well with a weighted lap pad or comforter for all round compression. It also serves as another seating option in the room for the children or supervisor.
A slow rotating mirror ball with pin spot is a fabulous aid for eye muscle development and visual tracking. It’s a great tool for raising concentration levels and is calming at the same time.
A star projection projects an ultra-slow-moving blue cloud with approximately 200 laser green stars onto the ceiling providing a star gazing experience.
We hope that all the future users of the room – pupils and staff – benefit hugely from the resource. Well done Miss Melia and everyone involved in making it happen!