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Pasco Cty, FL: School sensory room where kids can "de-escalate"; 'a lot of our kids are non-verbal'

Feb 20, 2018, Tampa Bay Times: Pasco sensory room a comforting resource for students with autism http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/Pasco-sensory-room-a-comforting-resource-for-students-with-autism_165072015 For students who have trouble processing sensory information such as movement, lights, sounds, smells, textures and tastes, a sensory diet that integrates therapeutic play activities with school work can foster better concentration, engagement and self-regulation skills. In Pasco County schools, these tools and activities often are used during scheduled occupational therapy sessions or brought into the classroom in a rolling "sensory cart" that can be stored away when not appropriate. But for Pine View Elementary students enrolled in the social-behavioral communication program, a new sensory room just a few steps from their classroom provides a permanent safe space to decompress, self-soothe or engage in an activity that can help them get back to the lesson at hand. "A lot of our students are non-verbal, so they can’t express what they need — what’s bothering them — and this really helps with that," said Meaghan Windisch, one of three social-behavioral communication teachers at Pine View. … The sensory room is in a refurbished classroom that connects three classrooms for students in pre-kindergarten through grade 5. It encompasses four stations stocked with equipment selected to meet the individual needs of students evaluated by school occupational and physical therapists. … Children who are overstimulated can de-escalate by throwing themselves on a crash mat, jumping on a mini trampoline or rolling around in a ball pit in the "Vestibular Zone," Windisch said. ...