More and more students in schools are experiencing anxiety, stress, sensory concerns, and additional problems. Some of these students have general special needs. Many of them may be identified as autistic or have some other kind of disability. Teachers and other school professionals are working on ways to address this and help as many children as possible. Sometimes therapy sessions assist them in a traditional way, but kids may need more.
Imagine a safe place where students can go to decompress. Schools around the country are looking to see if they can transform small spaces into therapy rooms. It is no longer enough to have a room with mats in it for occupational and physical therapy sessions to take place. Teachers and paraprofessionals need a space to take some students during the school day to help them to stay calm and get focused. These new rooms are able to be used for multiple reasons to assist students in different ways.
The new therapy rooms may look unusual to an outsider. Those who have used them with students understand the power of the rooms and how they assist on a daily basis. Elementary school therapy rooms are made with padded walls. This allows for a safe place for children to twirl, flap, and release energy. In addition to this, the rooms are filled with special equipment. There are swings for children to accommodate the entire body, along with trapeze bars to hang on. There may also be foam boards to balance on and balls pits to jump into. Other children may enjoy a ramp to scooter down into a giant pile of pillows.
All of the items listed above and more help children to have a place to refocus and calm their bodies and minds. These new rooms feature sensory integration at a maximum level. The equipment used stimulates kids with different movements, touch sensations, and the use of their bodies. Physical therapists, speech pathologists, and even physical therapists may use the rooms for their individual or group sessions. The familiar space will assist children with their goals. In addition to this, other adults may go to the rooms as needed when they see that kids need space. If a child on the spectrum is in sensory overload, going to the swing may provide the needed space and sensation to help them to decompress and regroup.
For those looking into building a school therapy room, research grants that are available for this purpose. Also, check in with facilities in your area that have this type of equipment. Many may be willing to donate different items for use with children. Brainstorm with all therapists in the school to make a list of reasons why this would be beneficial for your students. Be prepared to present this and more research on therapy rooms to administrators and board of education members during budget season.
If you are a school professional interested in finding your next job, view our jobs page through the button below to find openings in a variety of different disciplines across the country.Search School Therapy Jobs