The classroom isn't always conducive for the needs of autistic children, but one East Lansing, Michigan classroom is breaking through that barrier.
This isn't an average play room at Pine Crest Elementary; it's a sensory room, a place where students with autism spectrum disorder can come to better process information from the classroom.
Victoria Hall from Pine Crest Elementary School said, "Out there in the classrooms, there's so much going on that in order to take that information in, some of them need to get more stimulated in order to process what's been going on."
The low lights and calm colors in the room lessen anxiety. Special equipment like this ladder provides stimulation while decreasing stress through exercise.
Hall said, "We have a compression hammock, and that's a hammock with four different layers, and depending on which layer they get in, it will kind of squeeze their bodies, with different strengths and resistance. Our platform swing that we have allows students to spin. We get a lot of language when that part of the brain gets going."
Five year old Everett is one of nearly ten autistic children at his school who uses the room at least once a day. Everett's mom held a fundraiser this summer, raising $7,000 to create the room.
"I’m thrilled with what it has done to help my son," said Colette Evangelista.
Parents and teachers say just five to ten minutes in the sensory room opens the door to a whole new perspective on learning.
“When they have this room that they can come to and calm themselves and regulate themselves, they can go back in their classroom and learn better,” said Evangelista.
Victoria hall adds, "Their language increases sometimes and that is and immediate effect."
With the knowledge of autism constantly expanding, parents and teachers say the sensory room gives a stronger sense to a complicated disorder.
The sensory room isn't limited to only autistic children in the school.
Children with asperger syndrome and other disabilities can also benefit from the room.
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