Vinton, IA: New sensory room in middle school is 'a place to calm down'

Mar 12, 2018, (Cedar Valley Daily Times) Vinton (IA) News: Sensory Room may help those troubled by classroom setting The elementary school environment may not seem particularly overwhelming to most people. … But for some students, the fluorescent lighting, stuff taped all over the walls, and noise is too much. Teachers at Center Point-Urbana’s Intermediate School believe their new Sensory Room might be the key to helping such students. … “It’s a place to calm down if they’re getting over-stimulated. A place to re-center themselves if they’re having trouble focusing,” said Special Education Teacher Ann Rocek during a recent tour of the new Sensory Room. … There is a small trampoline and an exercise ball in the room, as well as a star light projector playing calming music and a homemade tactile board that attracts even adult fingers. … Earlier this school year, with input from an AEA Autism Consultant and an Occupational Therapist, Rocek designed the protocol for the room’s use, as well as its contents. During a typical school day, Rocek said eight to ten students visit the room. Some of these students have three, five-minute sensory breaks built into their day as mandated by their Individualized Education Plans. “In the past [prior to the Sensory Room’s opening], students [with sensory needs] might constantly squirm in their seat and we would try to stop that behavior, but now the student is able to go to the sensory room for a break and get re-centered and refocused,” said Rocek. … Some school districts in Iowa have used ‘seclusion rooms’ to address disruptive behaviors.