Lancaster-Lebanon IU13 Creates Sensory Room at Central Education Center

January 22, 2024

LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA, — Lancaster-Lebanon IU13 created a sensory-based room for all six Integrated Emotional Support (IES) and some Emotional Support (ES) classes to utilize during school hours at the Central Education Center (CEC). A grant from CCRES allowed IU13 to create the sensory room, an idea that originated from the needs of students in IU13’s IES program.

“The IES Sensory Room serves as a full-sensory support experience for IU13 students with critical developmental and sensory modulation needs,” said Jennifer Fegley, a Behavior Consultant at IU13. “It is a dedicated space that has a wide variety of sensory options to provide high-quality support to improve sensory integration, emotional regulation, and increased positive behaviors of our students.”

The room is filled with engaging items including: a bike, cloud pillow, therapy balls, balance boards, floor tiles, weighted animals/items, kinetic sand, platform swing, cuddle swing, and a variety of sensory bins.

Fegley explained why the sensory room is so beneficial when it comes to teaching IES students, “Students with sensory processing disorders may become either overstimulated (sensory avoidant) or under stimulated (sensory seeking). Sensory processing impairments or sensory processing disorder are often evidenced by problematic behaviors, including aggression, self-injurious behaviors, anxiety, withdrawal, social avoidance, and depressive symptoms; these behaviors can result from students trying to engage in sensory avoidance due to overstimulation, or express frustration due to under stimulation.”

The sensory room has been well-received by students and staff, and future plans include adding sensory decals to the hall around the room. Additional anticipated impacts on students include increased social skill development; increased tolerance for prolonged social engagement; increased independence in the initiation of socially appropriate behaviors; anxiety reduction; and overall improvements in mood regulation in response to sensory support opportunities. Over time, anticipated impacts transcend the program, and start to be visible in students’ home lives.