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New sensory room helps students succeed at Hunter's Green Elementary

February 03, 2020 - Points of Pride

Students at Hunter's Green Elementary have a brand new sensory room to help quell anxiety and succeed in the classroom. 

Although the "Comfort Room" was created with students with special needs in mind, any student who needs the help can use it. 

"This room is a place where all students can come, whether they have a diagnosis or not, to be in a safe environment to regulate senses, cope with them and go back and be successful," said teacher Joni Cagle. 

"Every day, we all take in hundreds or thousands of sensory imputs. Most of us can organize those. But sometimes kids with sensory processing disorders, like autism, don't know how to regulate or categorize them. We need to help them learn strategies to cope with those senses," said Cagle.

Cagle contacted two community partner charities, Sydney Has a Sister, and Grandma Elaine, who donated the money needed to make the room a reality.

The room includes a creation station with sensory lights, fidget toys, fine motor skills activities, a quiet area with weighted blankets and an active area where students can play. It's the largest of its kind in the county.

Cagle says teachers have seen students' attention spans increase along with social skills and fine motor skills.

"As a teacher of students that have differing abilities we worry about all aspects of their learning, to see them come in here and feel safe and know that no one in here is going to pick on them and make fun of them and get exactly what they need to help them be more successful, is just the best feeling ever," said Cagle. 

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