This is my first official blog post and boy am I excited to be sharing it with you. This actually will be a multiple part post because it is so intricate. There is a lot of stuff I want to share about my sensory room. When I first started my position this year as an autistic support teacher to 7th and 8th graders lets just say I was a bit overwhelmed. I had not worked with this age group before and actually it was an age group I avoided at all costs. Teenagers just gave me the chills and made me want to go back to bed.
When I started setting up my classroom I felt that I had a good idea of how to make my room function even though I was going from teaching primary grades to middle school. These students still needed the same kind of structure. One part of my classroom that got put on the backburner was my sensory room. I didn’t know much about sensory rooms and didn’t really understand their main function.
I was so fortunate to be in a brand new school, brand new classroom, and in my room was a seperate room to be my sensory room. Problem was… I only had limited things to go in the room. I had two exercise balls, two gym mats, a broken bean bag chair, and a box with little trinkets in it. Other then that, I didn’t have much that I could use in my sensory room and I didn’t really have the sensory room “mindset” to think outside the box and find some inexpensive ways to boost the room and really encourage students to want to use it for their sensory needs.
In came my occupational therapist and a student teacher. They were awesome! They opened my eyes to a whole new idea of how a sensory room could be. One thing that was great is that they understood my classroom was filled with teenagers that knew mostly what their own sensory needs were so we tried things out with them to see what they liked.
I guess what got me thinking “sensory” was when the student teacher that worked with my OT was saying to me how looking at the senses and how each student reacts to them can determine some of their needs. Trying to balance the room to have a little bit of all the needs sensory wise might be the best place to start. So that is exactly what we did. Here is a before picture of my sensory room: