What benefits do sensory rooms offer students with brain injuries?
26 October 2022
CPREE El Buen Pastor, a private special education center located in Cieza, Murcia, caters to pupils between the ages of 3 and 21 with special educational needs. This school focuses on educational innovation in order to provide the best possible care to its students and ensure their optimal development.
With this objective in mind, during the last academic year, the school decided to add a sensory room with immersive SHX technology by Qinera (formerly BJ Adaptaciones) to the facilities they offer. Now, several months after installing it, the multidisciplinary team of professionals at CPREE El Buen Pastor– ASCOPAS want to share their experience using the room and the benefits and results they are seeing.
Benefits and opportunities offered by our SHX sensory room
We use the SHX sensory room by Qinera with our students who have suffered childhood brain injuries. We focus on using a multidisciplinary approach, which involves our entire team of physiotherapists, speech therapists and teachers, in order to offer a more global perspective. Our main goal with the SHX sensory room is to use its components and possible adaptations to achieve controlled sensory stimulation. This supports the students’ development in every activity and session.
Therapeutic intervention in the room provides a wide range of benefits in different areas:
Proprioception/self-awareness, attention and focus, memory, interaction, enjoyment, relaxation.
Development of initial skills, discovery and experimentation, balance.
Making requests and communicative intent.
Structure and organization, space and time.
Sensory motor stimulation when different body parts are involved in the activities.
When a student’s mental capacity begins to develop, so do focus, concentration and the discovery and recognition of new elements. This provides powerful cognitive stimulation, in addition to a psychosocial component when they interact with their therapist and/or other people.
Customizable, interactive worlds
Sensory rooms not only provide an immersive environment, but also a truly interactive one in which the student is able to make decisions that control their surroundings. The room is entirely customizable and personalized content can be used to offer a unique experience in every session. This sensory room is designed specifically to stimulate the students’ senses and, ultimately, help them to achieve a state of wellbeing, facilitate communication and encourage interaction between people and their environment.
Thanks to the SHX System, our room has been transformed into a therapeutic tool that adapts to the specific needs of every user. Using lighting effects, pictures, videos, moving images, music, sounds, vibration, items that stimulate proprioception or balance, we can enjoy a powerful resource that offers infinite therapeutic opportunities. Not only can all this content can be edited and customized to suit every user’s needs, but additional external content (YouTube videos or files on a USB drive) can also be used. Moreover, users can take control of the room and its elements (ball pit, Luminea bubble tube, Luminea fiber optic strands …), depending on their needs, preferences, interests or abilities.
Here are some of the therapeutic approaches that can be implemented with the sensory room:
We work on anticipation using sensory cues, assigning a symbol, sound/song and tactile cue so that the user can anticipate our visit to the sensory room. Then, we continue with behavioral routines, with rituals to begin and end the activity, in order to help the child locate themselves in time and space while providing a sense of security and always working in line with their individual abilities or limitations.
We follow certain guidelines, structuring the activities and sequencing the session using clear, pre-established objectives. In terms of how we use the room, activities are carried out either individually or in groups, depending on the specific objectives for each session. The room can be an ideal setting for assessing our students’ responses to certain stimuli. We can also use the room as a means of enjoyment, leisure and relaxation, taking into account the pleasant environment it offers, which promotes relaxation and encourages the child to experience a variety of different sensations.
Our main focus is on communication and cognitive skills associated with language (memory, attention, auditory and visual recognition, etc.). Thanks to the variety of different resources that the SHX System offers, we can use the room as an environment that facilitates communication by allowing students to communicate and interact with the world around them. This is possible thanks to the interactive elements that are found in the sensory room: wireless switches, sensory mats, tablet, SHX Proximity, etc.
In summary, the SHX system allows us to control and synchronize every sensory tool in the room, offering a wide range of therapeutic opportunities for our users.
We seek new opportunities to encourage movement and activity. The multiple different stimuli that the SHX sensory room offers can be used to promote the development of the students’ neuronal interconnections. This way, we can:
induce the desired movements and postural changes
develop tactile/haptic recognition
Likewise, vestibular stimulation can be used to strengthen awareness of movement and encourage a child to initiate it, promote motor learning through interest and discovery, and can also improve balancing reactions.
This system is extremely useful for working on motor rehabilitation and functional recovery with these children, as it stimulates sensory and cognitive development alongside physical and motor development.
A multidisciplinary team
As mentioned earlier in this article, the SHX system offers multiple solutions for working on different areas. Due to the range of different tools it provides, we can carry out comprehensive interventions for every child and, at the same time, develop a multidisciplinary approach shared by the various health and education professionals who work with them. Below is a video of different activities that we have carried out in the room. You will see how we work and we hope that some of our experiences will be of help and interest to you.
This article was written by the multidisciplinary team at CPREE EL BUEN PASTOR- ASCOPAS private special education center. Physiotherapists: Fco. Joaquín Santos Salmerón, Mª Josefa Valenzuela Martínez and Ana Belén Giménez Yuste. Speech Therapists: Eva Mª Vázquez Bastida, Pilar Segura Martínez and Mª Teresa López Santos. Therapeutic Teacher: Josefa Martínez Valenzuela.
Free project design
Click on the banner below if you would like to know more about the benefits of the SHX System or you are interested in finding out what a sensory room adapted to your space, therapeutic objectives and users might look like. If you leave your contact details, one of our consultants will provide you with more specific information and, if you wish, can design a made-to-measure project for your own sensory room free of charge.
The team at Qinera
Qinera produces assistive technology for people with disabilities with the aim of improving their autonomy and life quality.
Its human team includes: occupational therapists, special education teachers, speech therapists, engineers, IT developers and experts in assistive technology.
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