CHILDREN at a Shirley school can now improve their learning experience by making use of a special ‘sensory room’.
Our Lady of the Wayside Catholic Primary School is one of the first in the borough to create a sensory ‘safe space’ for pupils.
The new room is designed to help children at the school, some with special educational needs such as autism, focus and relax during lessons.
The driving force behind the project were parents Rachel and Chris Davies who want more mainstream schools to follow suit.
Their campaign extolled the value of these rooms for children who can find the school setting challenging and distracting.
Their dedicated team of volunteers worked tirelessly to convert an old office into the new space equipped with mood lighting, a worry tree and various materials and textures for seating and flooring.
Many parents of children with complex special educational needs call for more inclusion and understanding in schools.
Although the rooms can be used by all pupils as recreation areas, crisis management spaces and therapy rooms.
Facilities such as these also serve an important role in combating mental health issues and can be used for counseling.
Mrs Davies said: “As parents of a child with autism you can often feel helpless, there are continuous challenges that we as a family face every day.
“We are at the beginning of our journey but we quickly realised that we need to embrace the positive aspects of our son’s condition and accept him for who he is.
“Our son struggles every day to manage his emotions, he cannot regulate himself without sensory integration into his daily routine. “Our son is an inspiration to us; his bravery, tenacity and talent is awe inspiring.
“He makes us want to fight for him, educate others and adapt the environment around him to allow him to thrive.”
Mrs Carol Ashcroft, Our Lady of the Wayside’s assistant headteacher and Special Educational Needs Coordination officer, acknowledged and thanked the work of Rachel and Chris Davies and the determined group of volunteers.
Particular thanks were paid to WalkOn Flooring in Tile cross, Birmingham who, on hearing about the project, provided the flooring and fitted it free of charge.
She said: “As a school we are so grateful and thankful for all those involved in this project.
“The transformation from an old office/storage room into a safe sensory space has been truly remarkable.
“This space is essential for every child, whether it is a child experiencing a bereavement, a child facing difficult times at school or home, or in the case of Rachel and Chris’ son, a child who has additional needs need and who requires a safe space to express themselves without fear of judgement.
“Such a space allows children to regulate their emotions, develop and mature. They need to feel safe in their expression.”