What’s the big deal about sensory rooms?

They may seem like the latest trend in disability and developmental care but the idea behind sensory rooms has been around since at least the 1970s. While they’ve had various names including multi-sensory environments, stimming or multi-sensory rooms, a sensory room is essentially a space that combines a range of stimuli to help individuals develop and engage their senses.

What is the purpose of a sensory room?

Sensory rooms can be used to facilitate relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, assist emotion regulation and promote greater wellbeing. More specifically, sensory rooms can be used to help treat sensory disorders in children and adults, such as autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy and down syndrome.

How does a sensory room work?

Our brain is designed to produce and regulate responses to the body’s five senses— the things we touch, see, smell, taste and hear. This link between the brain and our behaviour is called “sensory integration.” For most people, this is a normal daily experience but for individuals with a developmental disorder, the way the brain processes these experiences can be a major source of stress and discomfort.

In some cases, the brain may over-react to these sensory stimuli. Other times, it may not react enough. This is called “sensory processing disorder”. It can cause a variety of negative behaviours, such as acting out, aggression, meltdowns, spinning or rocking, as well as problems with information processing and development.

A sensory room provides a “safe” space for individuals with sensory issues to decompress and confront a variety of sensory issues in a way that will ultimately help them learn to cope with seemingly normal experiences.

What are the benefits of a sensory room?

The main benefit of sensory rooms is that they are a humane and effective way for individuals to manage their stress levels. They can also help to manage negative thoughts and emotions.

Sensory rooms can be beneficial for those that have a history of aggression because they can be useful in de-escalating aggressive behaviour. Adults that have an intellectual disability can use sensory rooms to explore their emotions and seek different kinds of stimulation, which can be therapeutic.

Relaxation is an important aspect of sensory rooms, and the different stimuli in sensory rooms can possibly help reduce different kinds of problem behaviour. 

To book a visit to our sensory room, get in touch with us through our website.