Students to have access to calming sensory room with funds from a THF grant
Special Education Coordinator Kari Behrends will use funds from a THF grant to provide a safe, therapeutic space for her students to decompress and focus.
Rankin District 98 in Pekin, Illinois, is a small rural elementary school that serves around 200 students in grades K-8. The school provides special education services to its students and to students at a neighboring school that is too small to support its own special education program. Grant funds will go toward items to turn an already allocated room into a functioning sensory room at the school.
"The sensory room is intended to provide a therapeutic space for all students at Rankin, but especially students with disabilities such as autism, ADHD or sensory processing disorder as many of these students have difficulty processing sensory information," Behrends said. "The room can also help with emotional regulation and relaxation by providing a calming space to help reduce anxiety and manage stress."
Items she plans to purchase for the room include a star projector, mini trampoline, sensory LED bubble tube and a sound machine.
"The supplies chosen will be specifically identified as materials that will provide therapeutic sensory input and output for students," Behrends said in her grant application. "This room and its contents will be available to all students and specifically utilized for students with disabilities."
The district's special education teachers, social worker, speech pathologist, OT/PT and administration will all be involved in creating and implementing this space.
Behrends plans to have the sensory room available for use by August 2023.