Using Sensory Rooms with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)


What is a Sensory Room?

A sensory room is a specially designed room. It includes items and toys which stimulate the senses, including lights, colours, sounds, soft play objects and smells. The room is a safe place that allows the user to explore.




How does a Sensory Room benefit children with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder?


Sensory therapy is proven to be beneficial for children with autism and children with sensory issues.


Sensory stimulation can engage different parts of the brain which helps children to retain more information. The benefits of sensory play and cognitive development by increased brain function are also discussed in this post.



Sensory rooms can also help develop the child’s ability to process things visually, alongside improving motor skills and communication skills.



Sensory rooms can be calming for children who are distressed, providing them with some comfort.



Using a sensory room regularly can help to increase a child’s concentration and help them to focus.



A sensory room can be a place where children feel happy and able to have fun, whilst stimulating their senses in a stress free way, with no distractions. This will result in the child being calmer with less aggression. 



How you can make your own Sensory Room:



There are various sensory rooms around which you can visit with your child or, if you have space you could make your own.



The example below uses the understairs cupboard in a small house. It is not a big space but it works well.



First the cupboard was cleared and cleaned. A small shelf was placed at the end with a cloth cover. The same cloth was used to line the inside of the door and the top of the wall.



Next small plastic mirrors were stuck around the walls and a conveniently cupboard sized gym mat placed on the floor.


An UV light was mounted on the old coat hooks and neon poster paint was used to paint shapes on the wall beneath it.



A bubble tube was purchased from ebay and placed in the corner near the door.



Battery operated fairy lights (left over from halloween) were strung around the top of the cupboard.


A light, again from ebay, was used to shine onto the walls.



Under the shelf at the end, a lemon scented car air freshener was placed (out of reach) and on top are various sensory items collected from cheap shops and online.




In the room there are also some light up cuddly toys, a massage snake and a taggy blanket as these items are helpful for the child it belongs to.



A small baby light projector was placed in the corner to play different soothing sounds and lullabies and a disco ball was hung from the door frame.


The whole room was made for less than £300 and items were added over the course of several months to spread the cost.


Something like this is relatively easy to make and can be extremely beneficial.


You do not need to have a lot of space or a lot of money, just work to what you can manage and afford. If price and space is no object then there are a wealth of companies online who will come and install a custom sensory room.



If, however you are space limited and on a budget there are other options.


You could buy a den or tent and put cushions, lights and sensory toys inside to provide a small sensory space for your child or section off part of their bedroom. Even just adding sensory toys to your house may benefit your child.

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