Nov 12 , 2021
Sensory Zone – You Beauty!
As a former schoolteacher of 25 years, I witnessed the emergence of children labelled with ADHD, Autism, or Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) coinciding with the rise of more exciting classroom environments.
Whilst there was some fear and opposition to inclusion in the early days, I for one believed that these young people were the catalyst for breaking down the old-fashioned children sitting in rows affording teachers the permission to make learning environments much more fun and meaningful!
As a consequence today's school children have much to be thankful for.
I used to love turning my room into vibrant learning spaces and I for one can vouch for the importance of the Sensory Zones. I would consider my classroom Sensory Zones the best resource / space in my room and would encourage many of my parents to create one for themselves at home.
What is a Sensory Zone, how do you create one and what are the benefits?
So what is a Sensory Zone, how do you create one for kids with Autism and what are the benefits?
A sensory zone is simply a space to assist autistic children to chill out (also often called a Chill-Out Zone). Sensory overload can be a debilitating factor for kids who are on the spectrum. With minds racing, hearing fluctuating and mood swinging they often need help to bring their state under control. This is where the Chill-Out Zone can play a role, and they are not just for our needs kids, most children need a time to slow down to calm down.
This pop-up tent is ideal for kids who respond to a safe sensory space.
DEO Calming Cocoons- Click on the link for more information
How do I put together the ideal Sensory Zone for my Child?
I used to look around my classroom for a space that can be isolated effectively enough, but still be in my eye line. As a teacher safety for everyone in the class is especially important. This is the same for you when choosing a space in your home environment. Think about where you spend the most time, for many this is based around meals so anywhere in vicinity of the kitchen would be a good idea.
Create the right mood
It is important that the space is appealing, has the right lighting and enough ‘distance’ for your child be feel safe and comfortable. Think about adding their favourite toys, playthings or books to help to ‘personalise’ this area to promote an independence that sees them want to go there without direction or prompting. As you know the more habit-forming self-direction can become the more likely it is to assist. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars creating this space, what really matters is that it is defined and owned by your child.
In your Classroom (For Teachers and Aids)
The state of anxiousness felt by children with Autism is a symptom of their state of sensory processing disorder. This means the way they interpret things is different to neurotypical children. The disorder heightens their sensitivity to the senses. We talk about their heightened six senses - touch, smell, taste, hearing vision and body awareness.
Classrooms can be overwhelming for many of us, they are typified by busyness, bright lights and lots of noise. In thinking about practical ways to calm this environment you can look to lower the lights with light diffusers and different bulbs. I used to use the old-fashioned cellophane – it still works a treat.
You could also purchase a sensory tent of tee pee like these here to allocate to the space as a fun designated area.
POP UP SENSORY SPACE TENT - AUTISM KIDS- Click Here
BUTTERFLY SWING HAMMOCK HANGING SENSORY SWING CHAIR
What are the important elements for setting up our Chill-Out Zone?
So here are the main considerations for setting up your Chill-Out Zone.
1. Select your Chill-Out Zone area – we would recommend the Tactile Calming Sensory Touch Mats for Autism to help to designate your Zone -(Click Here) Sensory Calming Tactile Touch Mats for Autism – disAbility equip online
2. Reduce the Light and Sound – we would recommend the Calming Sleep Lamp 11 - with soothing sounds - now with rechargeable battery!
3. Calming Sensory Space – you could also consider designating your area with a sensory pop tent and or even a compression cover would be good.
These items are very popular.
4. Colours and Tones – Our research suggests that soft green and blue tones are the best ‘ calming’ colours. These colours are considered the best for calming and relieving stress from over stimulation. Here are a couple of items that you may wish to consider.
Here are some items to consider:
Sensory Light Pebbles - Calming Lighting for Sensory Processing Disorders
5. Other Great Calming and Sensory Products for you to consider
- Calming Cloud Beanbag: (Click Here) Calming Cloud Beanbag – disAbility equip online
- Rocking Tear Drop Sensory Chair - vestibular support for Autism and Sensory Processing Disorders: (Click Here) Rocking Tear Drop Sensory Chair - vestibular support for Autism and Se – disAbility equip online
- Sensory Calming Swivel Chair – Foldable: (Click Here) Sensory Calming Swivel Chair - Foldable – disAbility equip online
All the very best with setting up your spaces. If you need anymore information or would like to chat, give me a call on 1300 946 745 or email
(Click Here) firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to assisting you to … Live Your Best Life!
Founder and Owner - DEO