Local School Gets Sensory Room for Autistic Children

By: Tiffany Teasley Email
By: Tiffany Teasley Email

The sensory room at Pinecrest Elementary isn't an average play room, it's a place where students with Autism Spectrum Disorder can come to better process information from the classroom.

"Out there in the classroom, there's so much going on that in order to take that information in, some of them need to get more stimulated in order to process what's been going on, they need to spin, whatever it is they need to do, this room provides that opportunity," said Victoria Hall, a special education teacher at Pinecrest Elementary.

The low lights, and calm colors in the room lessen anxiety, special equipment like ladders provide stimulation while decreasing stress through exercise.

"We have a compression hammock, and that's a hammock with four different layers, and depending on what layer they get in, it will kind of squeeze their bodies, with different strengths and resistance, our platform swing that we have allows students to spin, with the motion, often we get a lot of language when that part of the brain gets going," Hall said.

Everett, a 5-year-old student, is one of nearly 10 Autistic children at the school who use the room at least once a day, this summer Everett's mom held a fundraiser, raising $7,000 to create the room.

"I'm thrilled with what it has done to help my son," said Colette Evangelista, Everett's mother.

Teachers and parents say just five to 10 minutes in the sensory room, opens the door to a whole new perspective on learning.

"When they have this room that they can come to and calm themselves and regulate themselves, they can go back in their classroom and learn better," Evangelista said.

"Their language increases sometimes and that is an immediate effect," Hall said.

With the knowledge of Autism constantly expanding parents and teachers say the sensory rooms gives a stronger sense to a complicated disorder.

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