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Corpus Christi: Library gets $75K sensory room

Nov 12, 2023, Corpus Christi, TX: $75K grant bringing sensory room to La Retama Central Library in 2024
A sensory room is coming to La Retama Central Library next year.
It is thanks to a $75,000 federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. It will be free and open to kids fourteen years old and younger. Officials say it will be used for books and equipment.

"It kind of helps relaxes us and when we go out in public it, it might help us with social skills," said Dustin Cronan, who has autism.

Cronan said a sensory room can help kids build confidence. His three-year-old son Matthew also has autism. His son uses sensory toys as one way to calm down. Corpus Christi Public Libraries Youth Services Librarian Shelby Gonzalez runs programs that help kids regulate behavior and improve focus….

"Children with sensory processing disorders often are not able to attend events out in the community. So, this room will give them the opportunity to come have some fun," Garcia said.

Garcia said some parents might not be aware their child has a sensory processing disorder.
Experts will be there to guide people through the process. She said it addresses the community's need for a free sensory room and creates a space where kids will not feel judged.

"They don't have the resources they need for their children," Garcia said. "And so we're really happy to be able to offer those resources to them."

One of the community partners is Prairie View A&M University and a teacher is joining them to help provide the programs and sensory room. Cronan said efforts to create these resources mean a lot to the special needs community.

It's definitely appreciated, too. That shows that when they do stuff like that, that they're dedicated, you know, to helping us and that they care about us," Cronan said.

Cronan is also creating a non-profit to provide resources for the special needs community. He said he wants to eliminate bullying and raise awareness for his cause in the Coastal Bend and across the state.

The sensory room is planned to open by March 2024.

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