What is the Sensory Room and what is it for?
A busy, public library can be an overwhelming place to visit, especially for people with sensory processing disorders, learning and development difficulties, autism or dementia. To make our library more welcoming and inclusive, we have created the “Sensory Room” – a safe, non-threatening space to calm or engage individuals through each of the senses. It is an enclosed, quiet room within the main library building; but away from the noise, activity and strong lighting of the rest of the library. It contains a variety of visual, tactile, auditory, proprioceptive and vestibular stimuli, adjustable lighting and comfy seating. Time spent in the Sensory Room can help people to regulate themselves before continuing with their library visit or heading home. The Sensory Room is NOT a play room.
How do I use the Sensory Room?
If you think the Sensory Room could make a trip to the library more accessible for a child or adult in your care and to ensure it will be available for you to use at any time during your library visit, you must contact the library in advance to make a booking.
It is strongly advised that you familiarise yourself with what is available in the Sensory Room prior to your first reservation. You can do this by making an appointment to visit the room in person.
On arrival at the library, sign in with a member of staff who will open the Sensory Room for you. It will then be available to you and the individual in your care for the length of your booking. You may find that you don’t need to use the room, but the knowledge it is there if you need it might make your trip to the library easier.
The individual with the sensory processing disorder, learning and development difficulty, autism or dementia must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, teacher, special needs assistant, or carer (who is over 18) in the Sensory Room at all times. The Sensory Room is intended for use by one accompanied child or adult at a time only, because each individual’s sensory needs are different. However, exceptions may be made for families or small groups.
What’s in the Sensory Room?
- LED light columns with multiple colour and pattern modes controlled by a wireless interactive switch.
- Playlearn Colour Changing Cylinder with remote control.
- Fibre Optics: light you can touch, hold, capture and feel. A visual, tactile and auditory stimulus.
- Interactive Magic Table 360: interactive light games that can be projected on to a table, wall or floor.
- Large abstract tactile wall panel with a variety of shapes, raised and recessed areas and contrasting textures.
- Tactodiscs: tactile floor discs that can be explored with fingers and toes and used as stepping stones for balance and co-ordination activities.
- Large and small beanbags, cushioned platforms and seating: soft places to sit, stretch out or lie down.
- A variety of hand-held, manipulative sensory toys including a Switch Activated Massage Tube: a flexible massager which makes vibration fun to explore; glitter gel circles; a Stimove Twidget 2-Bulb Tracker: a two-handed fidget device that helps strengthen hands and fingers and co-ordination; Stimove squeeze balls, mirror with padded frame and handles, hedgehog ring; wooden box toy, Senseez cushion; ear defender.
- A selection of picture books.
- Sensory blackout tent: a cosy hideaway to provide a calming and safe retreat.