The Basics of a Sensory Gym Environment
Sensory Gyms are to help people who have sensory integration dysfunction , sensory integration disorder or any other condition where sensory integration is a problem.
The equipment can be used by a parent or therapist who have been trained in the techniques that are used to aid in sensory integration.
We will during 2011 start up courses for parents who wish to learn how they could help their loved one at home.
What equipment might be involved in a therapy session and what benefit it serves ?
Tactile: system may need ‘waking up’
helps to develop emotional development, motor planning, sequencing, organisation, the types of equipment that could be used are:
system may need ‘calming down’
wrapping up tight.
Proprioceptive ' posture and awareness of body parts '
helps with alignment of body parts,modulation of mid range
precision of movement, self image of the body, knowledge of position in space.
To develop posture and give sensory input regarding a certain body part you may use
Weights on the wrist and or ankles
swings (tyre and hammock)
helps with mastering gravity,body movements through space, enables stable visual field and bilateral coordination. This system works closely with the proprioceptive system.
Slow rhythmical vestibular stimulation has a calming effect and faster vestibular stimulation has a facilitating [excite] effect. It is used in therapy for its influence in stimulating the brain to organise itself. types of equipment that could be used are:
All of this equipment is available in the sensory products uk web site shop.
The Basics of a Sensory Room Environment
A typical multi-sensory room in a school or rest bite centre would incorporate these examples and more to cater for a very wide range of specific needs. If we are building an individual room for someone we would just use equipment that would aid with that person/s to communication and sensory stimulation.
Other lighting Effects
Padded walls and floors
Spot lights and colour wheel
Sound to produce music, vibration and other effects
Textured surfaces to project on and touch
How does specific equipment aid or help someone and in what areas?
Projection Equipment helps with creating themed atmospheres, development of cause and effect skills, encouraging hand and eye co-ordination, develops tracking skills, encouraging colour matching, aids communication skills, word and letter association activities.
Oil Wheel projectors and space projector
Wheel and Cassette rotators (various speeds available)
Effects Wheels and Cassettes (along with instructions on how
to make your own)
Variety of lenses for different effects around a room
Bubble Tubes helps with cause and effect skills, visual stimulation, aids tracking skills, colour sequencing for colour matching, vibration, movement through bubble rate and themed activities.
Polycarbonate bubble tubes from 1 meter to ceiling height.
Density objects like Balls and Beads (can be put in some of our bubble tubes)
Switch Controllers to change bubble flow rate and colour
Portable Bubble tubes
Bubble walls these can be from 1 meter x 1 meter to full wall
height and wall wide
Travelling Bubble pipe (can be placed around the wall allowing for horizontal tracking and movement)
Fibre optics help with grouping, tracking skills, colour matching, fine motor skills, emersion activities, tactile work. Because they are safe to work with people love holding them and playing with them, rapping them around there hands etc.
Fibre Optic hair (long strands up to 96 strands and up to 3
metres in length)
Fibre Optic curtains
Fibre Optic walls, ceiling's and carpets
Fibre Optic boxes
Ultra Violet Lighting
Ultra violet lighting helps with grouping, tracking skills, colour matching as you can make objects glow in the dark; it can also help with cause and effect skills, encourages hand and eye co-ordination
Ultra Violet Fibre Optics
A vast array of objects that glow
Other Lighting Systems
There are lots of different lighting systems, spot lights directed at a disco ball, will help with tracking, cause and effect, Rainbow lights, light chasing tubes, individual spots for colour matching. A starry sky ceiling can relax allowing the body and brain to relax after sensory overload
Disco balls (Half and full globe)
Individual spot lights
A vast array of objects that glow
Other interactive equipment
Phosphorus wall paper can be great fun when you make a shape, turn on a bright light for a second then off and see the result, very good cause and effect equipment.
Phosphorus wall paper panel
Textured wall board, very good for tactile response
Speakers in boxes
Mp3 players and speakers
Vibrating wall panels and floors
And much more
Allow communication in a variety of different ways as well as helping to make the person, feel they are a part of an activity, aids in turn taking, colour matching, cause and effect, hand and eye coordination, freedom to make choices, be in control and many other empowerment games.
Shaped buttons, square, round triangle, hexagon etc.
Interchangeable switch system
Low profile switches
Dome button switch
Remote switches (Carry around like remote control)
Hand held dome switch
Touch Stick Switch
Hopefully this will help give a basic understanding why sensory rooms are so important to help people communicate. There is sometimes a cross over with sensory gyms. To gain a better understanding of a sensory gym please read about them.