Our Heidelberg Child & Family Centre features a Sensory Room to support the wellbeing and development of children and their families. Our practitioners regularly use the Sensory Room with our clients to further enhance child-parent attachments, communication, self-regulation and connection within families.
The room has been made possible through the generous support of Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, The Jack Brockhoff Foundation and Commonwealth Bank Staff Social Club. We sincerely thank them.
What is a Sensory Room?
A Sensory Room is a room purposefully designed as a safe space featuring special lighting, music, objects and furniture. It encourages tuning into the senses to understand what works for individuals in terms of regulating emotions, communicating or renewing focus.
Our Sensory Room features include an egg chair, coloured lighting, a bubble tube with remote for changing colours, weighted objects, body sox and stepping stones, among other things that can be explored by parents/caregivers and children together.
How can a Sensory Room benefit families?
Led by their Kids First practitioner, our clients can use the sensory room to build awareness about what works for them in the area of relaxation, communication, self-regulation, and strengthening attachments.
All people first learn about the world and their relationships through their senses. Playing and interacting with people and their environment stimulates the senses and creates engagement with others. People receive information from the environment through the senses and process it through the brain which then allows the body to respond.
Those who have been in very stressful situations, or have had experiences of childhood trauma, may have emotional and body effects, some of which may be related to sensory needs. For example, some children suffering childhood neglect may have missed out on sufficient touch, which effects their attachment style and could result in touch sensitivity.
Additionally, parents and children who have experienced family violence may have heightened stress levels or hypervigilance as their nervous system is in overdrive in an attempt to be alert to danger and create safety. This can effect how their body and brain may take in sensory information, process and modulate sensory information and effect their ability to regulate emotions and to carry out coordinated movements.
In both these examples, strengthening the relationship between parent and child can be done by understanding that we each have our own unique sensory preferences, and we can build sensory connections with a view to calming, grounding and relaxing together and experiencing playful times and enjoyable moments.
Client intake service
The Sensory Room is available to Kids First clients as part of our child and family and therapy services. Please contact us if you would like to discuss an appointment
For researchers and other organisations
If you are from an organisation or research institution and would like to know more about our Sensory Room, please drop us a line at [email protected] and we'd be happy to share our journey in setting up the room.