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East Dover, DE: Elem school adds "Sensory Zone" for ASD/special needs kids

Dec 12, 2019, East Dover, DE, Shore News: Model Classroom Grant Helps to Create “Sensory Zone” at East Dover Elementary School Completing its tour of schools that earned the 2018 Model Classroom Grant, OceanFirst Foundation representatives visited East Dover Elementary Dec. 6 to see the school’s Sensory Zone. The story of how the Sensory Zone came to be is a unique one. How so? Let’s just say it involves J-Woww of Jersey Shore fame. We’ll explain. East Dover is a fully-inclusive school with 13 self-contained classrooms and a robust special education population. Principal Matt Gray has worked closely with special education teacher Peggy Kruger to maximize the school’s resources and consider its use of space, particularly as it relates to meeting the sensory needs of students. … Connections were made. The organization J-Woww worked with to design her space, KultureCity, was more than willing to work with East Dover and help fund a new model space. Meanwhile, Peggy and Matt were working alongside district representatives to design their application for a $10,000 Model Classroom Grant from OceanFirst Foundation, which ultimately ended up being a successful effort…. The intimate but terribly outdated and underutilized space has been completely transformed to better serve special needs students and the entire student body, not to mention staff members, who frequently stop in to recharge or unwind. A mini-entry serves as a de-escalation area. … Popular Toms River restaurant Rivoli’s closed in 2016, but reopened as Riv’s Toms River Hub, and in the process introduced “Chase’s Friends Zone,” a sensory space for families with autistic and special needs children. The restaurant also worked with KultureCity and consulted with East Dover leaders while visualizing and designing the space. “It’s a wonderful thing to watch the community take this idea and expand on it,” said Gray. “This is about serving children of all needs, and it’s so important that these sensory initiatives become widespread and sustainable.”…


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