Heather Holmes makes way for New Sensory Room

September 27, 2016

Many people on the autism spectrum have difficulty processing everyday sensory information. Any of the senses may be over- or under-sensitive, or both, at different times. These sensory differences can affect behaviour, and can have a profound effect on a person’s life.

Sometimes a person may behave in a way that you wouldn’t immediately link to sensory sensitivities. A person who struggles to deal with everyday sensory information can experience sensory overload, or information overload. Too much information can cause stress, anxiety, and possibly physical pain. This can result in withdrawal, challenging behaviour or meltdown.

So, the support team at Heather Holmes have worked hard to try and make use of the space they have and turn a once spare room and general junk store, into a new Sensory Room.

The ‘Junk’ room had become a dumping ground for various bits of equipment including wheel chairs and hoists, everything that didn’t have a home ended up in there. The room opens out onto the beautiful gardens making it accessible by wheel chair. The support team and individuals decided to reclaim this space as Heather Holmes can be very busy at times.

Some of the individuals at Heather Holmes have lived there for many years and over this time their individual support needs have changed, there wasn’t really a way to stimulate the sensory needs of the individuals who had sight and or hearing loss- nor was there a space to do this is in. For individuals with a combination of both sight and hearing loss we utilised things like different materials and made use of TAC PAC. The plan was agreed to create and offer somewhere quiet to go, relax and/or stimulate senses.

The team started by clearing the room and giving it a spring clean. With the help of individuals they then decided what and how equipment should be used and decorated, giving the room a brand new lease of life and providing a valuable space for people to enjoy.

They used TAC PAC, bubble tubes, different lighting, objects that made noise, objects that had different textures, music, and black out blinds- they ensured there would be something to suit everyone.

The conversion took around two months, Team Leader Nicola Sivers played the leading role in creating and making use of what has turned out to be a fantastic space. She was influenced by the different sensory needs of the people we support. All individuals have since, been able to make use of it, either as a sensory based activity or just a therapeutic space.

In addition to the new sensory room Denise, a Support Worker works hard every Tuesday supporting individuals with sensory arts and crafts activities, which have proved very popular, including; Gardening, Paper flowers, Sensory Pictures, Bunting, Music sessions, Painting, Colouring, Cooking and Pamper sessions.

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