Create dedicated activity zones
Every student who enters the sensory room may be at a different energy level and may require different tools to regulate. We knew it would be important to have organized options to meet a wide variety of sensory profiles. Based on our student population, we created three designated activity zones: a calming section, a gross motor movement section, and a tabletop activity section. We used equipment and furniture to creatively divide up the space as best we could.
Investigate storage options
A sensory room is meant to support regulation, but often having too many items or choices can be more overwhelming. We do not have a lot of storage in our space, so we had to be creative. We did not want students to have access to every single piece of equipment we own. We decided to utilize a small closet, some lockers in the hallway as well as some bins to stash away the extra items until we need them in the future or want to switch items out.
Think about the adults too
When setting up the space, we thought about how the adults supporting the students would experience it as well. OTs are not available to staff the space 100% of the time and facilitate sensory breaks, so we want it to be as clear and easy to use as possible in our absence. We placed important items like visuals, procedures and schedules in an easy to see/access place. Data sheets are easily accessible as well, equipped with a pen. It is easy to supervise a student in any area of the room. Setting the adults up for success also helps support student success.