Article by by Dee Jones, President of Light 2 World, Inc
Can you imagine walking on a floor that feels bouncy? You close your eyes and hear soft bubbles floating softly nearby. Your hyperactive child can hold a soft doll that smells like strawberries. I recently entered such a room filled with cushy chairs, delicious smelling stuffed toys, and expandable tubes for little ones to crawl through.
Oasis Church of Newark, Delaware has a wonderful sanctuary for children and adults with special needs. I walked into their Sensory Room and could not believe my eyes or my nose. Colorful bubbles floated in a long tube filled with water. Multicolored lights and fish shapes danced in rhythm. A corner of the room had plush toys and soft cushioned seats. A mini circus tent provided just enough room for story time or a nice place to hide in the quiet.
When the lights were dim, the children played an exciting game with moving shapes. This game was projected from a ceiling projector and they had a blast stepping on the pictures illuminated from above. This projected Matching Game was excellent for gross motor or large muscle movement. The darting animation provided interaction for group play or solitary interaction.
The Liquid Fusion Pads were soothing as the pressure of little hands and feet cause colorful liquid to dance across the large smooth padding. The aquarium-like tubes were a soothing touch to this room. The Sensory Room could be used for napping under the stars, story time, or dancing on a soft surface.
Music, lighting, and textures are soothing for children and adults with various special needs. My son visited this room for the first time, and he had so much fun, he forgot I was even there. The warm welcome from the volunteers put both our hearts at ease. Both of us could have spent hours in this sensory paradise. So how do you create this oasis at your facility or home?
Pathfinders for Autism (PFA) offers the following resources and information to assist children or adults who are affected by noise, lights, or movement. Your sensory room should create a calming environment with low lighting, and items to crawl inside of to assist children with autism, anxiety, and sensory disorders. Music that promote bouncing, rolling, and large movement are effective strategies as well.
Target, Walmart, and Amazon provide various fidget toys, bean bags, pillows, and environmental electronics to create a sensory retreat. The Beam Interactive Floor turns your surface into a wonderland of activities to calm hyperactivity or enhance creativity. Sensory toys and equipment can range from five to over three thousand dollars, depending on the complexity of your innovative design.
Whether you are designing a small room or a gymnasium, there is a variety of toys and gadgets to fit your budget and meet the needs of your loved one. My little fella currently has scented markers, a tent, wiggle stool, a light galaxy, and a karaoke machine that plays various music and provides small light show. Be creative and have fun with your design. Feel free to visit The Sensory Room at Oasis Church in Newark, Delaware. The volunteers would be delighted to meet you.
Light 2 World Inc.
2200 Glasgow Avenue, Newark, DE
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