Sensory Room Pictures!

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by sarypotter, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. sarypotter

    sarypotter Comrade

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    Aug 16, 2008

    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:
    [​IMG]

    And here it is now: http://sites.google.com/site/swdooley/sensory-room
     
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  3. teacherpippi

    teacherpippi Habitué

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    It looks great- not too busy at all. It will be such a great resource for your students.
     
  4. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Wow! That is a fantastic sensory room!!!
     
  5. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    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!
     
  6. inhisgrip20

    inhisgrip20 Comrade

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    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.
     
  7. michelleann27

    michelleann27 Cohort

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    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.
     
  8. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Looks neat!!! I hope no ones tears the paper off the walls. Mine would do so.
     
  9. sarypotter

    sarypotter Comrade

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    Mine will definitely tear the paper off the walls, but they will also learn how to put it back up.

    Thanks for looking!
     
  10. Teach96

    Teach96 Comrade

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    Aug 17, 2008

  11. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    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 :down:

    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.
     
  12. Ghost

    Ghost Habitué

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    Dang! I'm jealous! :( I need a sensory room badly! Your room looks great! I used paper on mine last year (old school) and the only one who tore the paper was the last one I expected to do it. You might have a pleasant surprise. :)

    You could add cheaply are glow in the dark stickers on the wall. My kids last year loved them with the black light.

    In the bathroom section at Walmart they have these matts to put in the tub to keep you from falling. They have suction cups and are "furry" plastic. I thought when I saw them that they would be great on the floor of a sensory room.

    I couldn't afford a rug, so I went to the fabric store and got a couple yards of fake fur and put it down on the ground. The kids use it as a rug and roll up in it.
     
  13. sarypotter

    sarypotter Comrade

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    Thanks for the input! No, the kids won't be truly alone in the room -- we have a small window in the door that will allow me to observe without intruding. I've also decided to keep the rolling cart of sensory items just outside the room and allow students to take things in with them as they go; that way, if anyone enters the room in an escalated state, I can maintain some control over the objects in their reach. (I don't mind getting hit with theraputty. Would rather avoid getting hit with the CD player!)

    My kids are moderately to severely disabled, and as for whether they will be destructive in the sensory room, it think it's going to vary. I don't predict that most of them will be. One often urinates on the floor if she's upset, but obviously I'm hoping to be successful in extinguishing that behavior; at any rate, the floor is tile, covered with cheap scraps of carpet from the thrift shop, so that's not a huge deal. Another likes to tear paper and throw it in the trash can, so I added a big bin of different types of scrap paper and a trash can for him to use. Hopefully that will deter him from tearing the paper down off the walls. I tried to tape the edges of the wall coverings down well enough that it's difficult to get a grip, too, so hopefully that would slow someone down long enough for me to intervene. As of yet, I don't have anything pricey or valuable in the room. By the time I can afford a few more additions, I should have a better handle on what types of challenging behaviors might occur there.

    I found the big kind of bubble wrap today, so that's perfect. I taped it to the floor so they can stomp on it. I also left one sheet loose for them to use in other ways -- I know a couple of them like to look through it at the lights. I love the idea of making a quilt out of the fabric scraps! I have a pile of them just laying loose to experiment with. One of my students has sewing as a leisure goal; maybe I can enlist her help in this!

    Unfortunately, our ceiling is not stable enough to hang a swing. I'm wondering about (eventually) the kind with a frame, but those are so much more space-consuming and I worry about them being stable. Some of my kids are pretty large.

    Thanks for the ideas!
     
  14. sarypotter

    sarypotter Comrade

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    Great ideas! I love the idea of the tub mats! Thanks!
     
  15. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Looks awesome!! A colleague of mine has created a lot of things in her room for sensory awareness. She also has a sensory room. She found tons of things at Salvation Army, Goodwill, curb side on trash day, or made them from cheaper materials. She has different lighting in the sensory room and even drapes darkening material over the flourescent lights in the main room. She made weighted tubes and pillows with rice and beans. She has beanie babies and other stuffed animals in the sensory room. She has a swing in the main room (built herself & installed by the janitors) It's just a square of plywood with chains coming from all four corners up to the ceiling and anchored to a main beam. It sits about 6 inches off the floor. She sanded and painted the wood. She also made a balance beam with a 4 x 4 from the lumber store and some 2 x 4 blocks to elevate it slightly off the floor. She has mirrors, rice trays, bean trays, koosh balls, different rugs, video rockers. She spent so much time researching this and the admin pretty much gave her freedom to do what she wanted to do.

    Well done and you know you can keep adding to it as you can.
     
  16. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    If you do decide to go with a swing with the frame - we found this one to be great. I don't know if this is the company we got it from - but we purchased one of these canvas swing chairs (with the frame) for one of our students. Our administration refused to hang anything from the ceiling (even though the ceiling met the requirements) and opted to pay the $129 for the frame instead (it's beyond me but I just do what they say). It "hugs" the child - it's a larger swing so good for your guys .... Even has a place to put their feet. My little girl just liked spinning around and then back around...

    The frame is on the right there (it's white and it's about $129)

    http://www.hammock-company.com/detail.asp?id=3059&sku=AIR-CHAIR&mode=ADD&prc=P000
     
  17. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    :lol: Sary, it looks fantastic. I know you have some sensory goodies in there, but to me, my initial reaction was, c a l m. Like I could just imagine the new age music playing in there.

    I actually just saw a sensory room about the same size as yours, and they had strung Xmas lights all over the ceiling and hung CD's from them to reflect the light. I thought that was kind of interesting. But you have a great room there already. Good job!! :2up:
     
  18. sarypotter

    sarypotter Comrade

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    Swings actually aren't as expensive as I thought they'd be. My one experience ordering a swing, it was a really complicated adaptive swing for a child with severe physical impairments, and it was fairly pricey, something like $250. I'm glad to see there are less expensive options out there!

    That said, I don't know how soon I'll be able to talk my school into something like that. I've only been back in the district for a couple of months and I can already feel the budget-related desperation emanating from the central office. :( Seems things are pretty tight around here this year.
     
  19. sarypotter

    sarypotter Comrade

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    GOOD! Thank you! That's exactly what we need!
     
  20. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    The crazy thing is, any time something is listed as "special needs" - it is (for the most part) expensive.

    That's why the IKEA swings and the one that I showed you stood out to me. I like finding things that provide the exact same results that we are looking for - but they are not from the more expensive companies or made specifically for children with special needs.

    Continue the good work on your room - it DOES look calm and wonderful!
     
  21. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    Awesome sensory room! I'm a firm believer in sensory. A lot of students can't function until they get their daily sensory input.
     
  22. sarypotter

    sarypotter Comrade

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    I just got the BEST feedback ever on my sensory room!! My niece, who is 12 and has autism, looked at the pictures and told my mother, "She's got to be my teacher. Then I wouldn't be in trouble all the time. She knows how to help things." :love:
     
  23. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    awwwwwwwwww!!!!!
     
  24. sarypotter

    sarypotter Comrade

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    Okay, I'm looking at this again, and while I love what she said, it also makes me worry! Poor darling, getting in trouble and knowing why, but not knowing how to fix it! I really wish I could be her teacher!

    Back on topic, I'm nervous today because the former teacher, who will be filling in as a para till October (I know I've explained that, but I don't remember how recently) left me a message saying she was on her way in to work in the classroom today. I haven't talked to her about the sensory room because I didn't figure she'd be in till Thursday. I won't have the car till this afternoon, and I don't have her number. I wonder if I'm going to get a call later about the time-out room's transformation!
     
  25. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    honestly, who cares! YOU are the teacher now!



    It might be a shock to her... But you explain your reasoning... And move on.


    No worries!
     
  26. inhisgrip20

    inhisgrip20 Comrade

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    She's right, YOU are the teacher now and free to do with the room what you want. If she knows what is good for these kids she will be thrilled at the transformation.

    With the risk of being too nosy I have to ask... why did she step down from being teacher to parapro? Just curious.
     
  27. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    I want to know that reason too! What an odd thing to happen? I can see people who move from parapro to teacher, but can't ever imagine (at least I can't, personally) moving from teacher to parapro??

    AND I find it quite awkward that she's stepping down in her own classroom and the district allowed that, it just seems strange. "I'd like to stop teaching and be the paraprofessional in my current classroom."

    I'm nosy too and I'm glad someone else asked because I'm curious!
     
  28. sarypotter

    sarypotter Comrade

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    She's retiring in October. They wanted her to stay around for a couple of months "to train the new person" (that would be me). She's not officially a para, but they're not hiring a second para till she leaves in October. Her role, as far as I can tell, is to fill in as a para while simultaneously helping to facilitate the transition (she's been with this class and these kids for five years).
     
  29. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    I guess that makes sense! I hope it helps with a smooth transition and there isn't too much stress (such as the change in the time out room, etc.)

    I suppose you can take this time to glean all of her knowledge and then apply it as you see fit in the classroom!
     
  30. sarypotter

    sarypotter Comrade

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    Absolutey! I'm definitely not complaining!

    It just feels a little awkward to change things when it still feels like "her" class, you know? The cast of characters hasn't changed, just our positions. It's weird.
     
  31. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Yeah that's why I was so surprised with the whole idea! I suppose it IS a positive thing to get to know the kids and have that transition time with their previous teacher, etc. But, at the same time, totally awkward for you to try to start new routines, change materials, etc.

    I did a week of "training" in my new position with the current teacher (who left at the beginning of August). I did the training a couple of months ago when she was still the teacher. It was the same kind of situation where she told me the schedule, routine, etc. and there was some stuff that I was thinking.... :-/ about her ideas (their "morning routine" was to wander around the play area for a half hour, and I'd rather do a morning circle, literacy group, something to get them in the routine....anyways...) and she just kept telling me "and at 9:30 I always take them to ____ and we ____ and ___, so you can keep that up when you start." And she had all these crazy (printed in color) OCD planning sheets that took for EVER to create (she showed me the files in excel) and I was thinking - I will HAVE to come up with a new system! But, the training was almost worthless (aside from seeing the kids' abilities, what the paras are used to, etc.) because she spent the entire time teaching me how SHE ran the classroom, the materials SHE used, and how I should learn HER routine, etc. It was helpful to see how the day went, transitions, etc. but I will definitely work in my own schedule when we start back up.
     
  32. sarypotter

    sarypotter Comrade

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    Yeeeah. I'm getting a lot of that, too. She tells me she can't wait to hear all my new ideas, and then when I share my new ideas, she tells me exactly what's wrong with my new ideas, and what she does instead. So I politely tell her the research-based foundation for my new ideas and explain why I'm going to implement them, and she basically repeats her original objection and then shrugs and says, "Well, however you want to do it ..." in this doubtful voice.

    Like I said. Awkward. She and the para have worked together for years, so I feel very outnumbered.
     
  33. inhisgrip20

    inhisgrip20 Comrade

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    While it sounds good to have the previous teacher stay awhile to "train" you I don't think it will be very beneficial. I would much rather just start the new year fresh, without the old teacher, and with my new parapro to train right away. Not only is it awkward for you, but I would think it will be confusing to the students as well. That whole situation is weird. Did your principal make that decision or the Special Education Department. Seems crazy to me. But that's just my :2cents:. :) You'll do fine. It'll just be an awkward transitional time for your students, papapros and you. lol Hang in there. Let us know if she flips about the time out room! :D
     
  34. AOIISCFL21

    AOIISCFL21 New Member

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    Only one?

    It sounds like I might be one of the only ones whose school has a multi-sensory room built. The room is simply amazing! It is a two room suite. One room has a huge ball pit with slide, lights and music board, swing, and this really interesting wall mount that has a whole bunch of bells and whistles and things to spin, mirrors, lights, sound, textures, etc. The other room is our black light room. It has a TON of multi-senosory toys, ALOT of lights and things you will see under a blacklight, a vibrating chair (which most teachers would rather sit in than put their student in haha!). Does anyone else have a room like this at their school? Part of our related arts are in this room. So every friday my special students get to go in there for related arts. :)
     

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