FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Sensory rooms at two Florence One schools are now complete.
The sensory rooms provide students a place to work on motor skills and emotional self-regulation.
The rooms are at Lester Elementary and the R.N. Beck Learning Center. Brian Denny, Director of Florence 1 Programs for Exceptional Children, said that a lot of thought was put into what schools had sensory rooms.
“These specific schools were chosen based on the population of students that are attending at those locations,” Denny said. “At Lester, we have a high population of students with Autism and they need more spaces for sensory input and have high sensory needs. The R.N. Beck Learning Center was chosen based on their preschool population. We know that preschoolers need lots of sensory input and movement, so the sensory room is a perfect fit for the three and four-year-old students just starting their school years.”
Occupational therapist Michele Lewis said the rooms feature areas that help students with a wide-range of needs.
There are more calming, quieter areas for students who need some quiet and there is even a squeeze machine that students can crawl through and it’s like giving them a big hug, because fo some kids the deep pressure is calming.
“We talk to the students about finding the right speed for them to learn,” Lewis said. “Some kids will be hyper-responsive where they are tuning into sights and sounds. Other kids might be under-responsive and don’t notice when someone walks into the room. We are trying to get that just-right ready for learning,” Lewis said.
Motor skills are also a big part of the sensory rooms.
“As far as the fine motor skills, there are busy boards hanging on the wall where students can working on things like zipping,” Lewis said. “The busy boards are set up in a way that it helps students work on developmental positions such as a tall kneel. Those types of things work on core strength and balance which helps even with eye focus and things like that. We will have white board and chalkboards hung up for students to draw.”
A sensory room is also expected to be completed soon at the Child Development Center.