Here at John Keble, we consistently strive to promote inclusion, and have long wanted to further existing SEND support by offering a space accessible for all children with sensory needs in which they feel stimulated, comfortable, and where they can both explore and learn in a fun, play-based, sensory-rich environment.
Our sensory room is a quiet space dedicated to this purpose. It includes low lighting, an infinity mirror, adjustable projections, a tactile wall panel, fibre optic curtains, mirrors and a bubble tube. It also contains a choice of comfortable places to sit and a variety of tactile objects to examine and help build motor skills.
The sensory room aims to provide:
- A therapeutic environment for children with autism, ADHD, sensory processing difficulties and other special educational needs
- Stimulation to help sustain focus, attention and build on small steps of progress
- Sensory equipment which can be used to develop a range of physical skills
- A calming space for pupils experiencing anxiety, emotional or behaviour difficulties
The room is used by individual children, pairs and small groups. These sessions are always supervised by an adult, are timetabled and offered when beneficial/needed.
Evidence suggests that time spent in sensory rooms helps children improve their visual, auditory and tactile processing, as well as fine and gross motor skills. By providing a sense of calm and comfort, our sensory room helps students learn to self-regulate their behaviours, which ultimately improves focus and equips them with skills to utilise in other settings.
‘Sensory rooms help teach children with autism and other behavioural health challenges to regulate their bodies in a way that allows them to achieve success in the classroom. For example, using a sensory “snack” of vestibular movement (linear or rotary swinging) or heavy work/deep movement (through obstacle courses or gross motor movement) can help students to achieve a calming sensory effect. Improved focus and information processing can make a significant impact on their ability not only to learn, but in how they engage with their teachers and peers. And, for children who are non-verbal and also struggling with behavioural challenges, being able to sign that they need access to this type of stimulation is an important step towards learning to advocate for themselves in the classroom.’
(Royal College of Occupational Therapists)
We are immensely thankful to Sonia Huggett and Community Church Harlesden whose generous donations have facilitated this dedicated space for some of our most vulnerable students.