The sensory room in therapy centre plays a significant role for children and staff. Children’s senses are stimulated and their ability to learn new skills is helped by the use of the sensory room as a assistive rehabilitation tool.
This study focuses on how much a child’s sensory room influences their growth while undergoing rehabilitation.
Case Study Scope
The Association for the Care of Children with Special Needs in Nablus, Palestine, served as the setting for the case study. Two sensory rooms are available at the association; the first one opened in 2012 and the second in 2017. The organization’s main goal is to rehabilitate kids and help them reintegrate into society so they can go to school and interact with other kids their own age. While working on other cases, they can take care of their daily obligations.
A group of academics interested in supporting families with special needs took the initiative to found the association in 1994. The association aims to serve the community’s needs and offer the required training for people with disabilities, developmental and sensory disorders, speech, language, hearing, and learning challenges.
For 17 kids, 12 boys and 5 girls, the association offers its services in the sensory room in therapy on a permanent basis. They are between the ages of 2 and 14. The association received children diagnosed on the autism spectrum, cerebral palsy, hearing issues, motor disabilities, psychological issues, and behavioural disorders like attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity.
Components of the Sensory Room in Therapy Centre
The Association for the Rehabilitation of Children with Special Needs’ sensory room has two sensory rooms that include: sensoryREADY, an interactive stairs, bubble tubes, a tacticle panel, optical fibers, an interactive floor, a hammock, and a bean couch.
Organised vs Free Sessions at Sensory Room in Therapy Centre
The method of implementing the session is determined by three basic factors: the child’s condition, the purpose of the session, and the child’s psychological state when conducting the session.
In most sessions, the specialist employs music and lighting, as these two elements have a significant impact on the child’s sense of safety and relaxation. As well as his response to the rehabilitation process. She mentioned two general types of sensory room tool use: Organized sessions in which the same tools are used in an organised and repetitive manner in each session to focus on a specific skill or goal. The free sessions, where the child selects the tool he or she wishes to use or play with. The sessions are typically post-operative in nature, with the goal of facilitating communication, psychological discharge, and evaluation.
A typical individual session inside the sensory room lasts sixty minutes. The specialist prepares the room ahead of time, lights it in a colour that the child is comfortable with, and plays soothing music through the sensory box system at first, then changes the music during the session based on the nature of the activity performed with the child.
One of the sessions with three-year-old Nour, who was diagnosed with autism, was described by specialist Majd. During the first session with the Nour, it became clear that she enjoys and feels at ease with the blue colour. The specialist always starts by lighting the room with her favourite colour. This improves her responsiveness and decreases distraction during the sessions. The same colour is used by the specialist when using one of the room’s supporting sensory tools that work with lighting and colors, such as bubble tubes, the luminous table, and the infinity mirror.
Groups sessions at Sensory Room in Therapy Centre
The sensoryREADY is used in group sessions to help children develop social and emotional skills as well as a spirit of participation. The sessions’ overarching goal is psychological discharge, behavioural counseling, cooperation, and social participation.
The session is typically divided into three sections: relaxation & meditation, cognitive activity, dancing & unloading. The session begins with the children sitting or lying on the floor and bean bag for seven minutes while listening to soothing music mixed with nature sounds. The specialist then asks the children to name the sounds they are hearing, such as birdsong, rain, and the sea. When the specialist correctly answers that question, the sound stops. When all of the sounds are finished, the room is silent.
The specialist then engages in a cognitive activity involving interactive educational games. Recognizing the shapes and sounds around us, for example. Where children answer their own questions and attempt to solve the game. Other times, the therapist reads a story from the sensoryREADY’s books library, alternating between lights and sounds. Talking about the story and debating it with the kids
After that, the specialist plays motivating music in the room for dancing, discharge, and movement in a free, random, or organised manner. Finishing the session with a unified movement by all of the children.
Using Sensory Room in therapy for Assessment
When a child first arrives at the center, he is usually both excited and scarred. A sensory room allows a specialist to quickly calm down and bond with him by allowing him to change the environment around him as he pleases. The immersive environment also allows the child to control his emotions and shift his focus to the desired goal. Educational games can be used to measure some motor and cognitive skills in a clear and consistent manner.
Using assistive tools in accordance with the session objective
On a monthly basis, the center’s supervising specialist determines the child’s rehabilitation and treatment plan based on the case. It defines the supporting tool for the session’s desired goal.
Bubble tubes, for example, are used to stimulate eye contact in children with autism. This is followed by lighting the room and playing music appropriate for the child’s condition. The touch wall is also used to stimulate tactile senses and develop daily skills such as shoe tying, light switch use, and opening and closing clothing zippers. Through interactive educational games, the interactive land encourages children to move and to coordinate hand movement, sight, and hearing.
According to the specialist, all members of the centre are trained to use the sensory room and its tools until they master them. During this stage, the new specialists are taught how to use each instrument, its operating methods, and the goals that can be accomplished with it. She stated that the sensory room in therapy was used almost daily by the psychologist, speech therapist, and occupational therapist. The application of the same tool varies from specialist to specialist. The psychologist, for example, uses the interactive stairs to empty children’s negative energy through story and narration, whereas the occupational therapist uses the interactive stairs to strengthen the child’s muscles.
Practical examples of the sensory environment’s role in children’s development during the treatment period
Specialist Majd mentioned a number of practical models who benefited from the sensory room tools during their treatment journey. It focused on the story of Omar, a child with autism who spent 5 years in the association and is regarded as one of the most children in the centre who had a significant and positive impact after using the sensory room in his treatment.
When Omar arrived at the association, the supervisor specialist quickly noticed that he has a sensory disorder as well as hyperactivity. His lack of commitment to what the specialist was asking made dealing with him difficult. And, with the start of working sessions inside the sensory room, Omar’s condition improved dramatically. He enjoyed attending sessions and sitting in the appropriate location without being asked. During the session, he interacts with and implements all issues raised by the specialist.
The interactive staircase, fibre optics, bubble tubes, and sensoryREADY were all highlighted in the sessions. He was working with him on the interactive stairs to reduce his excessive movement, as he interacts with the colours that appear when he stands on one of the steps, and performs many activities with him that require him to pass over the stairs in order to do them, such as placing a game on one side of the stairs and asking him to bring it by passing it on the interactive staircase.
All of these activities are done with the child, such as changing the colours in the room and playing music that calms the child and helps him relax with the tools available. The sensoryREADY prepares it before the child enters it. And every time a certain colour is used depending on the child’s condition. For example, if his movement is excessive, blue lighting is used to calm him down, but if the activity requires the child to be stimulated, the room lighting is changed to red, which stimulates activity and movement.
When compared to before the treatment began, communication between the specialist and the child has improved. When compared to sessions in the treatment room that were not sensory equipped, his response became better and more accurate inside the sensory room. The specialists overseeing his case took note of this. And the reactions of the child’s parents, who confirmed the child’s development during the treatment period in the sensory room.
Parental perspectives on their children
We spoke with the mother of one of the children at the centre, who expressed her gratitude for the developmental tools available inside the room. She talked about how her child’s health and behaviour have improved as she enters the sensory room with her for the individual session and observes the level of happiness and comfort on her little face, as well as the significant improvement in her skills and movement. She emphasised that she learned a lot from how the specialist handled the child in the sensory room and began to use some techniques with her at home.
Results and Summary
- During the rehabilitation sessions, the sensory room assisted the majority of the children in the association in improving their mood.
- The sensory room in the association is regarded as the primary source for the treatment and rehabilitation of hyperactive children.
- The application of sensory room tools in the psychological discharge and destress of children of all ages.
- Through various exercises, the sensory room assisted the children in distinguishing colours and shapes.
- The sensoryREADY is used in the process of behavioural guidance for children in group sessions.
- Increasing children’s attendance at association sessions as a result of their sense of comfort and safety in the sensory environment.
This study looked at the impact of the sensory environment on treatment development and improvement in the Association for the Rehabilitation of Children with Special Needs. The study’s main goal was to change the role that the sensory room plays in therapy and treatment centres for disabled children. Children with disabilities benefits from the use of assistive sensory equipment to stimulate their senses and develop new skills.
The study produced several findings, the most important of which were the sensory room’s contribution to the development of children and their immunisation during treatment, as well as the role of sensory tools in improving children’s mood and acceptance of treatment within the association.