Sensory room to help kids

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser
Spencer Park Primary Education Support Center principal Rebecca Wheatley with student Emily Vickers.
Camera IconSpencer Park Primary Education Support Center principal Rebecca Wheatley with student Emily Vickers. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Students at Spencer Park Education Support Centre can now enjoy a new sensory room designed to help children who are on the autism spectrum.

Centre principal Rebecca Wheatley said the new room could help with behavioural issues experienced by children who had been diagnosed with autism or intellectual disability.

“Quite often kids with autism, when they feel hungry or tired, they don’t register that they are feeling those ways — and that can cause anxiety and behavioural issues,” she said.

“We teach them to recognise those feelings, name them, and give them strategies to manage their emotions.

“This sensory room help us do that. All the equipment in there will help them regulate their senses and how to recognise these feelings within themselves.”

The new facility includes a ball pit, as well as light sensory rooms with interactive lights to help students feel calm.

“They can be in the dark where it’s all nice and quiet, or they can have one or two lights on and sit and look and relax and chill,” she said.

“There are spaces where they can also roll on the ground because it often helps to move your body around when the children are feeling anxious or nervous.”

Ms Wheatley said the support centre owed a huge debt of gratitude to Due South owner Paul Lionetti, who helped raised the money for the project. “Mr Lionetti closed his restaurant and bar for one night to make sure Spencer Park Education Support Centre was able to raise more than $34,000 to build their new sensory room,” she said.

“He invited more than 250 people to come along on the fundraising night to make all this happen for the kids.”

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