If you have a child who has Sensory Processing Disorder or is on the autism spectrum, then you’ve probably looked into working a sensory integration room into your household.
If you are unfamiliar with what exactly a sensory integration room is and how it can benefit your child in multiple ways or just want to know some more, let’s cover that first.
What is a Sensory Room and How Does it Help Your Child?
A sensory room is a room that is dedicated to sensory experiences. This means that it’s a room that is constructed to give your child different sensory inputs than they usually get.
Sensory rooms are used to not only create a calm, safe environment for your child, but they also can help develop key life skills, like gross motor skills, color recognition, vocalization, and tracking.
Sensory rooms come from the practice of Sensory Integration Therapy, where using sensory input is used to help either calm or stimulate your child to help them deal with their stress levels and feeling of well-being. Sensory Integration Therapy has been around since the 1960’s, but it seems like the science is just starting to catch up here in the last decade or so.
Let’s quickly take a look at a few studies backing sensory integration. In 2004, Tina Champagne, M.Ed., and her colleague Edward Sayer, Psy.D looked at how sensory rooms affected patients at the Cooley-Dickinson Hospital’s acute care psychiatric unit. What they found was that the patients who used the sensory room reported a positive response and a decrease in perceptions of distress.
This is great to hear! While your child may or may not relate to being in a psychiatric hospital, almost all of us can relate to things that make us feel calm and less stressed. This is what Champagne’s work is pushing forward. In 2006, she conducted another study that supported the findings of the first.
Also, in 2014, a study published in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders with the long titled of “An Intervention for Sensory Difficulties in Children with Autism: A Randomized Trial”, found that children who used integration therapy scored significantly higher than those that didn’t in Goal Attainment Scales, self-care, and socialization.
If that’s not enough to start a sensory room for your child, I don’t know what is!
What if We Are on a Budget?
If you know anything about sensory rooms, you may know them from professional settings, like a local clinic.
If there’s one thing I want to make clear to you is that we don’t have to replicate what we see there! While we can imitate it, most of us are on a budget and might not even have an entire room to dedicate to be a sensory room!
While we may fantasize about building a sensory room like this, $15,000 isn’t in most people’s budgets:
So I want you to know, that there are very affordable ways to build your child a sensory room (or sensory corner in their bedroom) that they can utilize every day. All we have to do is get a little creative and find the big wins that cost the least amount of money.
Guidelines for Starting Your Sensory Room
So you’re ready to start building your child their own little sensory area that they can use daily or maybe you’re adding to the little project you have going on now. Whatever it is, using these guidelines can lay an excellent foundation for your child’s favorite new spot!
First, you want to keep in mind that you can grow your child’s sensory room over time. Don’t feel like you need to go out and spend $1,000 today. The idea is to start with the big wins first, then start adding things as your budget affords.
Secondly, make sure you bring your child in on this project. If you two can bond over it, and give them a sense of ownership in the sensory room, they’ll take to it better, and you’ll both enjoy the experience!
OK, so looking at the actual spot, there are a few things we want to consider. First is the safety of the area. Keeping it away from cords, corners, hard surfaces (like a brick fireplace), and outlets is a good start.
Next, you’ll want to make sure there are no fluorescent lights. Most of us already know these can be irritating, so they’re good to avoid for your child’s sensory room. If you have one and can’t get rid of it or replace it, cover it with heat safe paper to dim it, or use something else for lighting, like Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling.
The last thing you want to take into account is the color of the room. You want it to be a calming color, so bright red is probably not a good choice. You can ask your child which color makes them feel the calmest. Popular colors are greens, blues or tan.
Now, let’s get into the list of what you should start adding to your sensory room (or corner)!
Vestibular Input aka a Swing!
Vestibular Input is a fancy for word for the feeling of swinging. This is one of the most common additions to people’s sensory rooms and is one of those big win tickets we talked about earlier.
While some of these can cost up around $200, we have a special offer for you on our Harkla Pod Hanging Swing.
We want to give you a 15% off coupon to give you a great start to your sensory room or perhaps an awesome addition to the room you’re already working on.
Visual Input and Lighting
Having some awesome colored lights is a great addition to any sensory room. Hanging colored Christmas lights from the ceiling (keeping the cord away from the child) is an easy win since you can pick those up at your local store for pretty cheap.
While you’re there, you can grab colored light bulbs at a very reasonable price to add some more color.
While there are more ways to add lighting, those are two easy ways to do it on a budget.
This is another easy sensory experience to add! While you’re at the store, pick up an air diffuser. There’s probably a whole aisle of them with different smells.
If you are looking for calming scents, vanilla, lavender, peppermint, or jasmine are good choices. If your child wants more stimulating ones, cinnamon, floral scents, or spices work well.
Proprioception aka Feeling Squished and Hugged
This is another one of the most common aspects to Sensory Integration Theory. Most children with SPD or on the spectrum love the feeling of being hugged. While I know you wish you could provide all the hugs your child would ever need, you can accomplish this is other ways!
A common product is a weighted blanket. Our Pod Handing Swing accomplishes this effect as well since children can fit snuggly in it (don’t forget your discount). Or combine the two for a double whammy!
Tactile, Touching, and Feeling
A lot of times, all your child wants is something unusual to play with, something that has a fun interesting texture.
These products may already be around your house! Providing your child with Play-Doh or finger paints can accomplish this.
The last sensory topic we’ll cover is auditory. This is another easy to accomplish sensory room addition.
If you have a CD player or MP3 player, you can easily hook it up to your speakers to play calming music for your child. Popular choices are nature sounds, white noise, or classical music.
There you have it! The six things every sensory room needs.
We want you to get off to a great start on building your sensory room, or if you already have one going, we want to give you a great addition! Every child deserves a spot where they can just relax and feel safe.
With your pod swing, your can expect:
Our pod seat is the perfect spot for your child to curl up in. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Here are what a few other mothers think of our swing:
“My son loves this thing. He is almost 4 and has Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder. My son loves that it closes in around him when he sits in it. It also makes it safer. I'm not worried about him falling out of it because there is nice deep pocket he fits into...
For my son, this has been very therapeutic and very calming for him. He takes books and reads them while he swings. We may get another one for his bedroom, we love it that much. It will definitely be on his birthday wish list. My only regret is we waited too long to purchase one of these.”
- Airn English
On top of that, when we reached out to Airn if we could use her testimonial on this page, she included this lovely line in her reply:
“I can only wish that it helps out another family and child as much as it has ours :)”
Here’s what another mother had to say:
"If you are looking for a sensory swing that the child feels "safe in" this is your swing! If you are looking for a swing that is just crazy fun to swing in, and twist this is your swing!"
- Megan Turk
There’s a lot more where that came from! After you claim your promo code, feel free to read through our reviews on Amazon
Don’t let another day go by of your child not having their own cozy corner to relax in.
Click the button below to grab your discount so you can see them curled up soon!
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