Churches and places of worship are adding sensory rooms to their locations. Some churches offer sensory-friendly services too. Do you think your church would benefit from a special needs a sensory room? Do you wonder how to offer a sensory-friendly service?
For instance, if these are your goals, then a sensory room at your church is a benefit:
Examples of underlying disabilities, disorders, or differences that contribute to a child or youth having different sensory needs are:
Anxiety, autism, concussion, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, learning disability, hearing loss, low vision, neurological disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, sensory processing disorder, seizure disorders, trauma, vestibular disorder, and other disabilities.
In addition, read more about all the underlying conditions that can contribute to additional sensory sensitivity.
Furthermore, you can create sensory rooms on a budget. And you can do a lot with do-it-yourself DIY sensory rooms. First, start simple and add from there. Use simple furniture. Maybe, your congregation donates chairs. Ask families to donate items their children have outgrown. On the other hand, you can fundraise to purchase specific items. Furthermore, there may be funding programs to help you create an accessible, inclusive space.
In general, provide calming, focusing items. And avoid noisy, exciting toys.
Although swings and suspended seats and the like are popular in sensory rooms, use extreme caution. Hence if you do choose to add a swing, ensure the installation meets standards and building codes. As well, pay close attention to weight capacity. Likewise, ensure safety underneath the swing and for the breadth of its swing with a large area of padded flooring and possible wall surface.
We hope you add a sensory room to your church and offer sensory-friendly worship. When you do, please add yourself to the Sensory Friendly Finder. That way, people can find you and worship with you.
If you want to learn more about how other types of places become sensory-friendly, here are examples:
Are you a parent wanting to learn more to help your sensory kid? Sign up for our Sensory Friendly Children newsletter.
Christel Seeberger worked as an occupational therapist for more than 25 years helping people with sensory sensitivity who experience sensory overload. Christel has sensory sensitivity herself; she has hearing loss and wears hearing aids. She founded Sensory Friendly Solutions in 2016. Sensory Friendly Solutions brings together people around the world looking for sensory friendly living and businesses and organizations who offer sensory friendly experiences.