Building together: The power of a multi-sensory classroom in a public school.

  • 15 June 2023

Starting a multisensory classroom project has not been an easy path, as we are a small public school. After a lot of reading, researching and searching for books, projects, materials and activities, we considered that a multisensory space would allow us to collaborate in the overall development of our students. With this idea in mind we started with this project which is carried out in the “Chameleon” classroom (the name of our multisensory classroom).

Although at CEIP Federico García Lorca in Arganda del Rey (Madrid) we have been running the project for two years, it would be fair to say that we are in the early stages of setting up the room; it is being equipped and completed little by little, adding new materials as we go along.

Our objective is to carry out different types of activities based on the needs of the student while taking care of their sensory profile. Therefore, the materials and their functionality change depending on the students we are working with.

“There is nothing in the intellect that has not previously passed through the senses” (Guirao, 1980, p. 15).

All the contents we work with in the classroom constitute the first element upon which any type of learning is built, and at the same time, a valid strategy for working with students with special educational needs. In this way, we achieve greater attention and greater participation, as they learn through games and interactive activities involving movements that are tailored to them.

The multisensory project

In our classroom, there are two distinct areas as we are currently focusing on two main aspects: motor skills and executive functions. In terms of bodily and  psychomotor development, we are working on sensory-motor pleasure, vestibular stimulation, movement, body schema, and more. Regarding cognitive-executive skills and aspects, we are focusing on exploration capacity, orientation response, attention, perception, spatial orientation, memory, and psycho-affective states.

Working with a student with different linguistic abilities will lead us to achieve prerequisites for cognitive growth, as cognitive and linguistic growth are interdependent. This means that the development of cognitive skills will influence the acquisition of linguistic skills, and vice versa.

Anticipation and Time Management

In addition to these activities, which you can see in the photos, we carry out a series of routines that help us with anticipation, facilitating time management and spatial distribution with our students. In each and every session in the multisensory classroom, we follow the same order:

  1. Anticipation: entry and exit routine: When we reach the classroom door, we place the pictogram on its corresponding panel, where the rules and steps that we need to follow are also displayed: take off our shoes, place them on the shoe rack, sit down, wait, and listen for the teacher’s instructions.
  2. Development of the session:Before starting each activity, we explain (with visual support if necessary) what we are going to do. Every time we transition to a new activity, we return to the bench to listen to the new instructions.
  3. Return to calm and close the session:We always end the session with a calming activity (relaxing video or music, yoga, etc.). Finally, we put on our shoes, remove the pictogram from the panel, and the session is concluded.

Without an objective, there is no therapeutic intervention.

As some of our students have similar needs to each other, we aim to achieve some overall objectives through our work in the `Chameleon´ Classroom.


  • Increase attention and concentration time. For these objectives, we use activities with UV light focus or bubble tubes. These elements are controlled by the SHX system, which allows changing colors and regulating the intensity of lighting based on the activity and ambient sound.
  • Improve executive functions in students through sensory stimulation.
  • Enhance visual tracking skills, promoting eye fixation, visual tracking, and visual contrasts. The bubble tube has become a great ally for these types of activities, as it allows creating infinite environments and situations using colors, vibration, reflections, and floating objects.
  • Plan, act, and evaluate their actions when faced with a problem.
  • Promote experimentation and exploration, which can be achieved with elements like the fiber optic. The contact with the fiber optic helps us perceive different parts of our body.
  • Develop abstract thinking, expanding their world and internal limits.


  • Increase the communication ability of the students. This is made possible through the use of switches or tablets, which allow the professionals to prepare and control the session, while students feel more autonomous by controlling the room and engage in cause-effect activities, make choices, communicate, learn, or pursue leisure activities.
  • Elicit a response (smiles, laughter, vocalizations, relaxation of muscle tone) after exposure to different stimuli.
  • Promote communicative interaction by presenting sound stimuli that change in intensity and volume.


  • Develop eye-hand and eye-foot coordination. For these activities, in addition to the tablet, we use textured balls of various sizes.
  • Promote proper postural control in each child to achieve their physical well-being, using resources such as weighted blankets.


  • Increase self-security and self-confidence.
  • Learn to relax and have self-control.
  • Participate in leisure and have moments of well-being.
  • Explore, feel, and perceive the sensations and perceptions obtained from one’s own body and the surroundings. For this, we use weighted blankets or swings.
  • Establish socio-emotional channels with the people in that environment.

In general, our intervention is not focused solely on stimulating the senses, but rather on using sensory stimulation as a means and not an end. It serves as a bridge that allows us to approach the child and communicate with them, restoring, to the best of our abilities, the socio-emotional foundations that enable communication.

Transversally, the entire program aims to provide satisfying and enjoyable experiences that reinforce exploratory behavior, autonomy, and creative capacity. In this way, we foster a solid foundation for healthy self-esteem.


We are CEIP Federico García Lorca in Arganda del Rey (Madrid) and we have been sharing experiences with our students since 1979. An important date for us was 2009, when we became part of the network of preferred centers for students with special educational needs derived from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Every year, we welcome students with special educational needs at our school, not only related to autism but also with other diagnoses.

Due to the neurodiversity of our students, we realized that it was necessary to expand the resources of the school to meet these needs. We also strive to innovate and improve our contribution and foster inclusion and participation in what we do.


This article has been written by members of the teaching team at CEIP Federico García Lorca in Arganda del Rey and reviewed by the marketing team at Qinera.


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Jennifer Arellano

Social Media & Content Manager at Qinera

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