Sensory room helps students with learning and behavior problems, seeing success

It's a 30 minute escape at Sullivan Elementary School.

Posted: Mar 7, 2018 10:41 PM

SULLIVAN, Ind. (WTHI) - It's a 30 minute escape at Sullivan Elementary School.

"They check in immediately, tell us how they're feeling," said Special Education Teacher Brandy Hyatt, "and the music is started, the timer is started."

Hyatt is one of the leaders behind the sensory room. The room is designed to help students who struggle in the classroom with learning or behavioral problems.

"If you walk in any classroom, you see there are some students that just kind of stick out," Hyatt said, "They are not able to learn like the other students, maybe they're off task, or out of their seat or they're getting in trouble more than other students."

It's that need that led Hyatt and others to look into a sensory room for the school.

For 30 minutes, small groups of students are allowed in the room with a trained sensory staff member. With dim lighting and soft music, students complete a circuit of activities made to relax and calm them down. The goal is to send the student back to class more focused and productive for the rest of their day through sensory input.

The sensory room includes activities like bags, bouncing/jumping balls, swinging and others. The room also features different zones like the Calm Zone, which focuses on pillows with different textures, a weighted lap pillow and blanket.

"They're not trying to learn mathematics or reading skills that maybe pose a challenge to these children," Hyatt said, "So here, they have fun, they talk to an adult, and the adult is interested in them and the adult can relax too!"

Principal Samantha Phegley says the sensory room is part of a new approach to addressing student needs.

"We cannot just limit ourselves to the traditional ways of discipline and the traditional ways of handling students that maybe have trouble focusing or behavior issues," Phegley said, "and it is our job too. We all have to continue to think outside the box."

The sensory room has only been around for a couple of months, but already staff members are seeing results.

"Out of all of it, I think the best part is just hearing the feedback from students, 'We love the sensory room' or 'I can't wait to go to the sensory room'," Hyatt said, "That makes my heart really happy. Then to hear it from teachers after their students have maybe missed a break because of a scheduling conflict, and they come to me and they say 'Wow, I really wish they could've gotten their sensory break because it made such a difference!'"

Currently, 40 kids use the sensory room at some point during their school day.

"This is cutting edge, it's something new," Hyatt said, "I hope other schools can implement this too for their students because it really is making a difference."

Phegley says they will be planning a fundraiser in the spring for the sensory room. In the meantime, if you're interested in donating items or money, you can call Sullivan Elementary School at 812-268-3341.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 33068

Reported Deaths: 2068
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9524558
Lake3494175
Cass15897
Allen141966
St. Joseph122134
Hendricks114268
Hamilton113292
Elkhart110128
Johnson1092106
Madison58459
Porter50522
Bartholomew49034
Clark47941
LaPorte42022
Tippecanoe3823
Howard37824
Delaware37636
Jackson3721
Shelby36822
Hancock32727
Floyd31739
Boone30535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2592
Montgomery23417
White2308
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Noble20421
Grant19721
Dubois1903
Harrison18921
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16512
Warrick16528
Dearborn16521
Vigo1538
Lawrence15223
Miami1401
Putnam1357
Jennings1294
Orange12422
Scott1203
Ripley1106
Franklin1098
Kosciusko1011
Carroll933
Daviess8416
Steuben812
Marshall801
Newton7610
Wayne756
Fayette747
Wabash742
LaGrange682
Jasper661
Washington511
Jay490
Fulton471
Clay461
Rush452
Randolph453
Jefferson431
Pulaski410
Whitley383
Owen351
Sullivan341
DeKalb331
Brown331
Starke323
Perry280
Wells270
Benton260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton241
Crawford230
Blackford222
Parke190
Spencer191
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0161

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 115833

Reported Deaths: 5186
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook753063519
Lake7933281
DuPage7460350
Kane6083167
Will5356268
Winnebago209153
McHenry148870
St. Clair105077
Kankakee83644
Kendall75119
Rock Island63923
Champaign5957
Madison54557
Boone42416
DeKalb3704
Sangamon34328
Randolph2674
Jackson25610
McLean21613
Ogle2002
Stephenson1992
Macon19219
Peoria1918
Out of IL1831
Clinton18017
Union1519
Unassigned1490
LaSalle14113
Whiteside13412
Iroquois1314
Coles12313
Warren1130
Jefferson10116
Knox960
Grundy952
Monroe9311
McDonough847
Lee791
Tazewell704
Cass690
Henry670
Williamson602
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin442
Perry410
Pulaski410
Montgomery391
Vermilion381
Morgan341
Christian334
Jo Daviess320
Livingston322
Douglas260
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Menard190
Mason180
Washington180
Woodford182
Hancock160
Mercer160
Shelby161
Bureau151
Carroll142
Bond121
Franklin120
Piatt120
Schuyler120
Clark110
Crawford110
Fulton110
Brown100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Moultrie100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Effingham61
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Edgar00
Terre Haute
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 79°
Robinson
Scattered Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 79°
Indianapolis
Scattered Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 74°
Rockville
Scattered Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 73°
Casey
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 78°
Brazil
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 79°
Marshall
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 79°
Cooling off, B-E-A-utiful weekend ahead!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events