Creating A Sensory Room

in autism, parenting, 21st August 2018

A Gift To Our Son

My beautiful boy has just turned 3 and instead of buying him gifts he won’t use or appreciate, my husband and I along with our close friends and family, decided to turn our spare room into a Sensory Room.

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I’m sharing this process from start to finish with you all in the hopes that it might inspire other mums and dads if they’re doing the same thing for their sensory challenged kids. However, a sensory room isn’t just beneficial for kids with these kind of challenges. They are beneficial for all children, and can make a huge difference in optimising their development. 

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BEFORE SHOTS

Equipment 

Swings

Swings are a great item to add to your sensory room if you have the space for them, and most hammock swings aren’t that expensive. Swings support an underdeveloped vestibular system for attention and focus, calm a child with sensory overload or emotional grounding issues and provide “hugging” sensations that help the child feel secure.

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Ceiling Swing

Lights & Movement

We’re using all manner of items to stimulate Matthews senses in his room, and the most important of those are his lamps. They range from Lava Lamps to Bubble Lamps, Wave Lamps to WiFi Lamps. The movement of the light and colours in each of these lamps are so important.

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They produce a great visual effect to help calm and relax, or engage and motivate. They have the ability to encourage interaction, attention, visual development and communication skills. Furthermore, bubble tubes are interactive and can encourage and help with learning, such as colour recognition, cause and effect, story-telling and theming, and development of choice.

Somewhere To Hide

So this was actually an item we already had thanks to my Aunt and Uncle who bought it for Matthew “just because” (I really do have THE BEST FAMILY EVER). However, it’s pretty big and so unfortunately Matthew wasn’t able to enjoy it as much as we’d have liked because there simply wasn’t enough room in his bedroom. Now though, it has a place and a purpose, which is to give Matthew a place to hide and relax whether he’s  feeling overwhelmed or playing keekaboo. 

Play Tent

Playtime

So it goes without saying that there are a lot of toys and other items to play with in this room. However, we have been really conscious of buying things that are going to be beneficial to his development and not just something that he won’t even look at. The first of these items is a Ball Pit. 

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Ball Pit

Staying in that same mindset, the next thing or things are sensory balls. It’s a no-brainer that Matthew is obsessed with any and all balls, be it footballs, golf balls, spiky balls and all the rest. We also have an array of fidget spinners, noisy toys (the joys) and bubbles.

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Toy Storage

We’re still filling these little boxes with Matthews favourite bits and bobs but so far he’s loving everything that’s already there. 

So now is the fun part. The room is complete and here are the photos to prove it. 

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Slide, Shelves, Grow Chart, TV & Magnetic Board

Please bear in mind that we did this as cheaply as possible and for a number of reasons. Firstly Matthew is still a toddler and so spending an inordinate amount of money would have been in vain considering a lot of this will either be broken, damaged or destroyed in a few months time. Secondly, we’re just a normal working class family who unfortunately don’t have a money tree growing in the garden. And thirdly, we were on a schedule with only 2 weeks to transform a dumping ground into a sensory room. 

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Swing, Tent, Trike, Bean Bag, Ball Pit, Sensory Boards & Bubble Machine
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Mirror Wall, Photo Wall & Recliner Armchair
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Rocking Tiger & Magnetic Board

You may have noticed we installed a little hardwood flooring corner in the room and this might look a bit crazy but let me explain. Matthew’s Autism comes with a lot of sensory challenges and one of the biggest is his stimming. He stims by spinning items on the floor and watching them move. He’s obsessed by this and so it was important to us to be able to provide him with an area to do this. It’s easily his favourite part of the room!

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Alfie Bear & Hospital Bear

One of the final touches we added to the room was placing his hospital bear on the shelf. This was a bear we bought him when he was in the NICU and was very sick. We went home one night and came back the next morning to find his bear was kitted out in all of the equipment that Matthew was. His nurse had done this so that Matthew always knew how difficult his start was, but also how much he overcame. 

We’ve never changed it and have left his bear as it was that day. So it felt fitting that it should be a part of his room. 

So there it is… Matthews Sensory Room… in all its glory. It wasn’t easy, but it was sooooo worth it. 

HE LOVES IT!!!

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