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Necco Center Builds Autistic Sensory Room


Written by: Iris Kelley, M.S.


"It's going to greatly benefit our kids and help them increase their coping skills." -Ashley Stamper, Cottage Captain, Shift Coordinator

We all have our own ways of dealing with stress or overstimulation. Some of us just take a walk, read a book, listen to music, or wrap up in a cozy blanket. But what if we weren’t able to tell anyone that we need a moment to ourselves? What if we weren't able to tell anyone what helps us deal with stress? For nonverbal children with Autism, it can be difficult to express what they need and when they need it. Lucky for the children of the Necco Center, our caring staff set out to change that.

In an interview, Necco Center Shift Coordinator, Tyler Grimmett explains how an existing sensory space got a much needed facelift.

The Necco Center has had a sensory room for several years. Why did you decide to re-design it? The previous sensory room was a little bigger than a closet. It offered supports for our kids but was limited due to its size. When we started examining our space, we realized that our kitchen area was underutilized. By transforming that large area, our kids were able to get a true sensory room experience.

Who was the mastermind behind the design? We did a lot of research on our own, but we also consulted with the experts. Kathy Fox, of the Haugland Learning Center in Columbus, Ohio helped us tremendously. Since Haugland specializes in Autism Spectrum Disorder, Kathy was able to advise us on wall color, supplies, tools, and even challenged us to think of ways in which we could maximize the use of the room.

How do you envision the room being used? The primary reason for the space is to give our kids a safe space to gain self-control. The common areas in their home can be bustling at times. When our kids feel out of control or overstimulated, the sensory room offers a quiet retreat to chill out and regroup. The space will offer features that will meet the sensory needs of all: auditory, visual, vestibular, olfactory, and even somesthetic senses.

Are you planning any other changes as a result of the new space? We see this project with the potential to keep growing. As we learn which sensory tools best help our kids, we will be able to add to the room and make it the best it can be!

Stay tuned for more kid-focused updates from Necco Center!