Sensory room – from small ideas big things grow
The design process started by working closely with our architect to create a wants list… What did we want from our practice and what functionality did each space need?
We wanted to make going to the Doctors easier for parents and more enjoyable for the children. We decided that we needed a safe place for children…. and with that came the sensory room.
As a parent I hate the thought of my child playing with the toys in a Doctors waiting room. I cringed every time they were insistent on even touching a book… So what could we do to over come this fear whilst creating a safe place for all children of all ages – and removing any disability barriers? Sounded easy, right!
We started looking on how to use technology. Our inner child was released and the thought of an interactive floor took over (is this when I mention that our sensory room budget tripled the moment we said interactive floor)… but why stop at just the floor? Why not make it all interactive? ( you remember that budget.. well that completely disappeared by the time we got to this point) We started doing our research on sensory equipment, the use of lights, music and touch to open up a child’s imagination. We were now on the way to creating a room that made going to the Doctors not only fun but could also open the door into fun ways to helping children with sensory, disability and social issues.
We employed a company from over east and between our brain storms and problem solving sessions we were able to fit big ideas into a small space. We have created a room that is all inclusive but doesn’t actually have toys. Our children became our guinea pigs and they were all excited (including the 16yr old). The room has something for everyone; interactive floor, bridge, tree, reeds and touch screen computer stations. Our little sensory room just got pimped!
We didn’t want the positive relationship to end in the waiting room.. How do we reduce the child’s anxiety about actually seeing the Doctor?
We started doing our research again… Why not create a paediatric specific area in our treatment room with a special treatment bed? But not just any bed… “Gloria” a Hippopotamus bed!! Again our teenagers were just as excited as our toddler – just don’t ask them in front of their friends. We have explored distraction techniques in medicine and have a few tricks up our sleeves to help reduce any fear little ones might have.