Multi-sensory Room in Eglish NS

We officially opened our Multi-sensory Room on October 10th 2014.

Dr. Andrea Higgins from NUIG and our student, Daniel Cosgrove who named the room 'The Wonder World' cut the ribbon.

A multisensory room was designed and created in Eglish NS by the teachers and SNAs of the school. This was in direct response to the needs of our students. The majority of our teachers have additional post-graduate qualifications in Special Education Needs and they used their expertise and experience to create this multisensory environment that all of our students can benefit from.

Many thanks to Bernie Pollock (SNA) and her husband, Nick who initiated a fundraising cycle raising €1500, which has been used to fund the design and furnishing of the room. The Principal delegated leadership of the project to Edel Devine (Resource Teacher) and the staff team collaborated and worked tirelessly over many hours outside of school time to ensure the project was completed in time for the students’ return to school after the Summer Holidays.

When the door opens wide,

Leave my worries outside,

Only whispers insides.
Knock Knock open wide

See what's on the other side

Knock Knock anymore

Come with me through the magic door.
Take off my shoes

Kick off the blues

Life in the world around us has become very busy, stressful and fast. All of our children are surrounded by noise during almost every waking moment. This puts many of them at risk of auditory bombardment and high stress. Our multisensory room, which the students have named “The Wonder World” provides students and staff with a quiet space generating a relaxing and calming effect. The range of equipment furnishing the room ensures that the senses are simultaneously stimulated and soothed.

Our Time-table for the room is structured in such a way that the children who need it most have access to it and also that all of our students have the opportunity to use it, in small and class groups, at least a few times every week. It will also be used to facilitate the practise of Christian meditation as the school availed of In-Service training in this topic recently.

Other observed benefits to our students, not previously mentioned include:

  • Development or reactivation of senses of hearing, sight, smell, touch, and taste
  • Improvement in coordination and motor development
  • Stimulation of the sensory building blocks
  • Development of a sense of cause and effect
  • Promotion of mental and physical relaxation – Stress levels drop dramatically
  • Increased opportunities for choice, self-determination and self regulation
  • Provision of a quiet, relaxing space in which students can think, reflect and be inspired
  • It’s a space in which our students can engage in meditation
  • Last but not least, participants are happier and have fun.

The approach to using a Multi-Sensory Environment is generally non-directive, without the need for intellectual or verbally mediated activity in terms of following instructions or rules, and regular exposure seems to be more effective. Essentially, one would allow the user of the space the time and opportunity to experience at their own pace what the room has to offer. One may not use or activate immediately all equipment that the room has available, but gradually introduce more of the sensory stimulation, allowing the cues given by the student to guide the teacher. WB Yeats said, “The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our senses to be awoken”.

The staff and students of Eglish NS would like to thank the local and wider community for supporting the fundraiser that has funded the creation of this fantastic resource. We would like to thank the Board of Management and parents for their support. Thank you to the students for their enthusiastic, open and respectful use of the room to date and the imagination and creativity they have shown in naming the room, “The Wonder World”. I, as Principal would like to thank each member of the staff team for their commitment, creativity and care in making sure that this initial wish has now become a reality.

The initiation, creation and use of our MultiSensory Room is inkeeping with and a celebration of the Ethos and Schedule of our school.

We are also all involved in developing a Sensory Garden, a project which was initiated by our Comenius Assistant, Guillaume Piton. Work on this is on-going.

Written by Siobhán Fitzgerald (Principal of Eglish NS)

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.

- W.B. Yeats -