Falcon Hill Elementary School principal Christine Quick was recently awarded a THF grant to go toward the purchase of items to create a sensory room at the Mesa, Arizona School.
The elementary school has a full Autism program serving grades Pre-K to 6, with both RISE and SOAR classrooms. Students in RISE are primarily non-verbal and focus on acquiring adaptive skills and academics. SOAR serves students who have a greater focus on academics and students who are phasing back into the general education classroom with their grade level peers.
"In addition to the students in our Autism program, we have a large number of students that have sensory needs," Quick wrote in her application. "Currently, Falcon Hill does not have a sensory room for RISE and SOAR classes to access and in general, we do not have a space with the appropriate tools for dysregulated students to find comfort."
With THF grant funds, Quick plans to purchase sensory room items including soft obstacle course sets, mini jellyfish aquariums, a pop up tunnel, swings and a tactile floor mat game kit.
The Sensory Room will be located in a classroom shared by the school's Occupational Therapist and Adaptive PE teacher. They will incorporate instruction for the sensory items into their lessons.
Classrooms teachers, both SpEd (SLD and Self-Contained) and General Education teachers will have access to bring students to the Sensory Room as needed. Students will have access to several different types of sensory tools to meet their needs.
"The students of Falcon Hill will be greatly impacted by the addition of sensory items to create a sensory room on our campus through having access to the tools they need to regulate themselves," Quick said. "This has been a need and an ask of my RISE/SOAR team almost daily. Our school community will benefit because this space is not only for self-contained classrooms, but for all students. Families of students will be impacted because students will be able to come home daily having all their needs met at school, not only academically, but also social and emotionally through their access to the new space."