Sensory room reflects change

Krissy Brzycki, Page Editor

A new sensory room at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School built by senior Kevin Waggoner this summer offers an example of how schools can better serve the social and emotional needs of its learners.

The room’s purpose is to help students with organizational skills and prepare them to learn. One of the biggest advantages of the room is the calming factor it provides for hyperactive children.

The room can also be used by any student, not just those in classes specialized for special education. 

 Waggoner, who lost a cousin with special needs a few years ago, determined that community was the obvious choice for him to serve.

“I’m still involved with that community,” he says. “I still have knowledge of their need for resources.”

Brooke McDonald, a Perry Township occupational therapist, estimates 40 students utilize the room on a regular basis.

“My argument is that if I take them out of the classroom for ten minutes, I can get them right back in that classroom and [these kids] can work for two hours,” McDonald says.

The rest of the township is looking to the sensory room as an example. 

Waggoner has already been sought out by teachers looking to develop smaller versions, and Rosa Parks Elementary School built its own sensory area modeled after Abraham Lincoln’s.

As the township looks to developing new ways to address social and emotional needs of students, sensory rooms may be one answer.

“It encompasses all the needs of the children,” Waggoner says.