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Lawrenceville, GA: High school gets "sensory calming room" "to help students cope"

Dec 4, 20221, Atlanta Journal Constitution: School’s sensory space calm and restores

For more than a year, special education teacher Danielle Jenkins and her colleagues at Mountain View High in Lawrenceville

talked and daydreamed about a space where all students could take a break from the sensory overload the school environment often creates…. Along with a physical location to calm those anxieties, Jenkins wanted ways to help students cope…. Last spring, Jenkins and her colleagues applied for a grant through the Georgia United Credit Union Foundation, and the results were stellar: Out of more than 250 applications, Meadow View became the first high school the foundation selected for a full grant of $15,000 to design and establish a sensory calming room. Over the summer, the staff put together a wish list, and volunteers from the credit union’s School Crashers program organized teams to turn a conference room into a calming space. The transformed area now features a sensory cocoon dubbed “the jelly fish” with fiber optic lights, a bubble tube in the middle, mirrors and comfortable seating. Outside the cocoon are fidget toys, a coloring wall, yoga mats and pulse meters to monitor heart rates. A vibroacoustic chair is fitted with fiber optic lights and links to Bluetooth that makes the seat vibrate to the music being played. “It’s almost like a massage,” said Jenkins. While the room was designed with special education students in mind, and is particularly helpful for those with autism, Jenkins envisions it as a place the entire school can benefit from. “We’re starting a club so kids can use it before or after school,” she said. “We’d like it to be open to anyone. We’ve had kids in our building who had panic attacks in the bathroom because they didn’t know where to go. This room is like a classroom for us to teach kids to turn off the craziness of the world.” Jenkins is also planning workshops to teach calming strategies such as deep breathing and yoga. …

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