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Old 08-16-2008, 08:25 PM
sarypotter's Avatar
sarypotter sarypotter is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 531
K-3 Special Education
Sensory Room Pictures!

Thanks to all your input, I was able to pull together a rudimentary sensory room to start the school year with. I hope to add to it as time goes on -- bean bag chairs and a rug first on the list, because I hate the tile floor. But I wanted to have something in place before the paras came back, so I could explain it with visuals instead of just sounding wacko trying to explain it when we were looking at an empty room. (I don't think they're going to like it; they were bizarrely attached to the time-out room.) I worked for six hours today and this is what I came up with. Let me know what you think!

Okay, wait, let me explain the walls. I know they're a little elementary. Here's how that happened: I thought about putting up trash bags on the walls as someone suggested, but I was nervous about the idea of leaving anyone alone in there with something they could pull down and suffocate on. (Am I paranoid? Yes. Would they actually do something like that? Yes.) But I lucked out and found rolls of bulletin board paper in the dark, scary dungeon the school calls a supply closet.

The problem was, there wasn't enough of any single color to do the whole room. So I chose the four darkest colors and did a mini-theme for each wall. I tried to keep it simple, but I wanted to somehow tie the colors together and blend the corners so it didn't look chaotic. I hope it's not too overstimulating. I know that after six hours of standing on a chair with scissors in my pocket and a roll of masking tape clenched under my chin, *I* felt very relaxed laying back in the sensory room for a minute!

The big, happy find of the day, though, also in the supply closet, was a weighted pillow with a massager built in. It's in the pictures, but you can't actually see it -- it's buried among the cloth scraps. What a great find!

Okay, here goes. This is what it looked like before:

And here it is now: http://sites.google.com/site/swdooley/sensory-room
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Old 08-16-2008, 09:28 PM
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teacherpippi teacherpippi is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 923
2/3 Split
It looks great- not too busy at all. It will be such a great resource for your students.
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Old 08-16-2008, 10:42 PM
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trayums trayums is offline
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3rd Grade Teacher
Wow! That is a fantastic sensory room!!!
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Old 08-17-2008, 08:34 AM
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WaterfallLady WaterfallLady is offline
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Posts: 2,117
Originally Posted by sarypotter View Post
they were bizarrely attached to the time-out room.)
For some reason, paras always seem to be bizarrely attached to time out rooms.

I love what you've done with the place though! I want one now!
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Old 08-17-2008, 09:11 AM
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inhisgrip20 inhisgrip20 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 401
Special Education Teacher
Sary! I love it! Very creative. I know when you start adding all the elements you visualize it will be fantastic! I'm like waterfall lady... I want one too. We just do not have the space. Anyway, great job. I don't think it looks too elementary at all. Your students will love it and I hope your paras do too.
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Old 08-17-2008, 09:28 AM
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michelleann27 michelleann27 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 620
8th Grade Science Teacher
Wow awesome looks great. I would't mind having a room like that to escape from the every day stresses we have around us. I can tell you put alot of thought and hard work into the sensory room looks great. Your children should enjoy the room.
A teacher affects eternity; he/she can never tell where his/her influence ends.
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Old 08-17-2008, 11:32 AM
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SpecialPreskoo SpecialPreskoo is offline
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Way down south in Dixie!
Was PreK SPE, now HS SPE.
Looks neat!!! I hope no ones tears the paper off the walls. Mine would do so.
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Old 08-17-2008, 11:40 AM
sarypotter's Avatar
sarypotter sarypotter is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 531
K-3 Special Education
Originally Posted by SpecialPreskoo View Post
Looks neat!!! I hope no ones tears the paper off the walls. Mine would do so.
Mine will definitely tear the paper off the walls, but they will also learn how to put it back up.

Thanks for looking!
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Old 08-17-2008, 12:08 PM
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Teach96 Teach96 is offline
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Mod/Severe Teacher
It definitely not too elementary. Great job.

my blog...www.lifeskilllessons.com/blog
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Old 08-17-2008, 12:40 PM
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teachersk teachersk is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,880
Special Education Teacher
The room looks great! Awesome idea with the ocean wall, night wall, forest wall, etc. Not too juvenile as long as you keep the items in the room age appropriate, which it looks like you are doing. It's a really cool idea to theme the walls the way you did, I like that!

Questions for you --

Are the kids ever going to be alone in this room? We never left our students alone in our sensory room for safety reasons. (Lights, plugs, CD players, etc.) Also, I put a good deal of my own personal money as well as district money into the items in the sensory room - and I know if students were in there alone, stuff would get destroyed (sometimes not on purpose, just out of curiosity). BUT maybe you have higher functioning (older too) kiddos that understand the purpose of the room is to sit quietly/nicely and enjoy the sensory input. The only reason I mention this is because my students were HUGE sensory seekers, but also very severe in their disabilities and would be most likely to injure themselves or destroy property if in the room alone. Just a thought!

We looked into having a glass window put in the door of the room so that the teachers could monitor the student in there - but the district denied the request due to finances

OH - what is the ceiling like in the room? I found an AWESOME swing from IKEA (it totally looks like a "special needs swing" - something you'd see in Abilitations or something for several hundred dollars... but it's $34.99! Can you believe it? If you were allowed to install a swing (you have to have a ... beam in the ceiling or something? I'd ask your janitor/administration....) but if you were allowed to -- swings offer great sensory input. A swing is also age appropriate, I think - you're never too old for a swing! The swing is blue stretchy fabric type material and hangs from above, you can wrap yourself in it. There's a seat that you sit on... that's about all I can explain. I looked for it on the IKEA website - but couldn't find it. They have some products that are only available in the store... and I'm guessing this is one of them.

A few other "cheap" ideas to add to it as you move along in the progress of creating the room:

Bubble wrap (kids love this)
Fabric from the fabric store - pick out random pieces from the "discount bin" -- I can usually get pieces for 10 cents/piece -- you can get fleece, polyester, fuzzy, rubber feeling, etc. I made a little "quilt" with them (nothing intense, just stitched many pieces together... it's very sensory oriented because the kids move their hands from one piece to the next, can lay under it, can sit on it, can look at it, etc.)
Shaving Cream (this may be something you want to "keep out of the sensory room" if you're worried about kids who make messes... but we had a small plastic bin with several squishey balls (washable) in it, and would squirt the shaving cream into it and the kids could move their hands around in it... this might be too babyish?? But shaving cream is a favorite among my kids.
Shredded paper! a bin full of shredded paper is fun to touch, feel, look at. (get this for free from your office or special ed office!)

The room is really looking great - the kids are lucky to have someone who recognizes that sensory input is SO VERY important for ALL kids!

Keep us posted on the continued progress you make with this room! It really looks great and you're doing a great job with it.
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