How to build your own sensory room
One thing you might not know about me is that I’m a bit of a homebody. I like being with my friends, and I love taking in Melbourne when I can, but when I’m not doing that, I’m at home with my cat, watching movies or playing my banjo. Not to mention, I work from home.
So, it’s safe to say that my home has become my sacred space over the last few years.
I had heard about sensory rooms, but I had never actually experienced one myself. Until recently, I had a limited understanding of a sensory room. I considered them a reserved space explicitly designed to create a soothing environment for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and closed off to the general population. While there’s some truth to this, and people on the spectrum and their carers swear by the benefits of sensory rooms, they are not exclusive to the autism community.
I had the chance to experience my first sensory room in March of this year when I went to Ability Fest. The experience didn’t disappoint.
I stepped into a dark room punctuated by soft green fluorescent lights. The room was decked out with cushy bean bags, and the wall padding perfectly drowned out any noise from the festival. It was hard to believe that my friends and I were just inches away from thousands of festivalgoers.
My friends and I grabbed a beanbag each while my support worker, Nicole, discovered a table in the corner with an assortment of sensory toys and fidget spinners. I was letting myself disappear into the soothing ambience when I felt Nicole drop something soft and squishy into the palm of my hands. Suddenly, my state of relaxation went from a ten to an eleven.
An adorable Stretchy Sloth Fidget toy took my attention, quickly followed by an assortment of fidget rings – great for quelling anxiety. I recharged my batteries for half an hour, fully absorbed in the experience.
I understood the appeal and purpose of a sensory room – how you could create an incredibly therapeutic environment with just some lighting, soft furniture, and tangible devices.
A few weeks ago, I started renovating my apartment – I thought about how great it would be to create a similar space in my home.
Why are sensory rooms so beneficial?
Sensory rooms are a fantastic resource, and they can be used in homes and schools to aid learning. They’re also renowned for de-escalating people during peak emotional stress and offering people a chance for emotional regulation. Studies have suggested that they may benefit adults with intellectual disabilities, individuals with mental health conditions, and dementia patients.
Creating your sensory space …
It’s a good idea to designate a room in your home to create this space; I chose my lounge since I spend most of my time there.
I began creating my own space by purchasing a bean bag and some new throw rugs and cushions – picking beautifully textured throws and pillows will add to the sensory experience. There’s an enormous marketplace for items like these.
Then, I focussed on finding suitable toys to recreate my festival experience. I came across My Sensory Space, a great site with toys, educational tools, apparel and other personal care items that the NDIS can rebate*.
Picking items was easy, exciting, and reasonably priced, and I even found some of the same things I discovered at the festival. My items were delivered quickly and were effortless to set up – my favourite purchase has been the sensory projector light.
My Favourite Items
Astronaut Galaxy Night Light Projector This projector is just like the one from the festival; it’s complete with Bluetooth speakers, a sensational milky way for your ceiling and hours of entertainment for your friends.
Squishy Lovers Fidget Pack With lots of pack options to choose from, each pack is terrific value, with an assortment of squishable, fun toys that will calm you on a stress-filled day.
Stretchy Sloth in Tree Maybe it’s just sentimental because this is the first sensory toy I picked up, but I love playing with these little guys; they’re so flexible!
Kinetic Galaxy Moving Ornament A pretty table ornament and engaging.
CPSN and My Sensory Space Have Partnered Up!
Many of the items of Sensory Space are NDIS approved, and if you have consumables funding, you should be able to claim back any purchase from your provider*. However, CPSN has also partnered with this organisation to offer a 20% discount on all Sensory Space purchases. Just use code CPSN at the checkout.
See coupon details in our discount section.
Sensory rooms are a worthwhile investment, a delight to come home to and versatile in their design. Since setting mine up, some friends have hopped online to create their own sensory experience.
Why not create your own space today?
*Please check if you can claim back items with your Plan Manager or Provider.