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Roseville, MN: Sensory room "designed for students with autism/sensory issues"

Feb 8, 2023, Warren, MN, CANDG News: Kment sensory room provides the right touch

Kment Elementary School special education teacher Kimberly Harvey and speech and language pathologist Kaela Calcaterra wanted to find a way to further help students with autism and sensory issues.

They came up with the idea to create a place where students could go when they needed to calm down and take a break from a stressful situation.

After securing grant money, Harvey and Calcaterra developed the Kment “sensory room” to provide students with a sense of calm and comfort when they experience emotional distress.

An auxiliary office that wasn’t being used was transformed to create the sensory room at Kment.

“We’re trying to teach the kids coping skills,” district Special Education Director Teresa Tomala said. “We’re trying to give them a foundation to get appropriate coping skills.”

Harvey and Calcaterra received $500 from the Optimist Club of Roseville and $1,500 from Fredi the PizzaMan to purchase several items for the room, including a swing made from soft fabric, a tepee, punching bags, a bean bag chair, a weighted blanket and neck pillow, a small trampoline and more….

There’s a “calm down” chart inside the room that helps students determine their feelings.

Also stocked are hands-on manipulative materials designed to help the students get focused.

One popular item is the floor’s sensory path, which includes plastic-like steppingstones that have different textures to help with balance. Sand also is a great stress buster for students.

Calcaterra said each student has a favorite area inside the room. While the sensory room was designed for students with autism and sensory issues, the room is open to all students. Sometimes students throughout the building can enjoy the room as a reward for good behavior….

Green Elementary School and Roseville Middle School also have sensory rooms. At the Jan. 30 Roseville Community Schools Board of Education meeting, Stec and Tomala gave a presentation on the sensory room to the school board and central office administrators.

Fredi the PizzaMan is a charity that focuses on equipping sensory rooms in schools and spreading autism awareness and acceptance. The Optimist Club of Roseville is a community service organization dedicated to serving the youth in its communities.


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