Jersey City, NJ: School with 100 autistic students gets sensory room

Mar 11, 2018, Hudson (County, NJ) Reporter: Hear, touch, feel—PS 22 gets first ‘sensory classroom’ in Jersey City Even before the ribbon was cut on the school district’s first sensory classroom at PS. 22, kids gathered in the hall, staring into the newly-constructed space with wonder. A sensory room is a carefully designed space that helps students cope with the overstimulation that sometimes comes with autism and other special needs. This room, constructed as a result of a donation by Hudson Subaru and funded through the “Share the Love” Hudson Subaru program, is filled with a variety of interesting and unique items designed to entertain kids, but also to help them work off excessive energy. A short workout in this room can allow students to focus better in classrooms for a full day. These include swings, a trampoline, a crash mat, tilt and spin, rock and roll top, rainbow river stones, and features that make the room a kind of obstacle course. … While the sensory room is new to Jersey City, it has successfully worked elsewhere in the country as a way to modify behavior. P.S. 22 currently has about nine classes dedicated to autistic and special needs students, and the sensory room, according to teacher Heather Piechocki and supervisor Candace Coccaro, will become a valuable tool to help students transition to traditional classroom settings. … The school has about 100 autistic students on the spectrum from mild to severe. To this end, PS 22 will make use of two adaptive physical education teachers to oversee some of the programs and to help train regular classroom teachers to also use the room.