Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
A school in Utah has an entire wing for kids with special needs, including a sensory room, a climbing wall, soft mats for resting, three nurses and rubberized floors to keep students safe and comfortable. I’ve never in my life experienced sch0ol envy before, but I got a bad case of it after I read about Whittier Elementary School in West Valley City, a public school with inclusive programs for kids with disabilities.
Twenty-two percent of the student body have disabilities, and the new wing for them opened last year. As Noelle Converse, the special ed director for the district says, “It’s unbelievable the amount of focus you can get if you spend just a little bit of a break, a sensory break…You’re able to get enough calming and attention out of them to start to really see some engagement.”
That makes perfec sense. Given the drastic budget cuts schools around the country have experienced in the last five years, though, it’s dubious that many will be opening up school wings like this.
Max is in a school devoted to kids with special needs. I have often wondered about putting him into a school with inclusionary classes, as I think it would benefit him to be around kids of all abilities, but none of the local schools are the right fit. This one sounds like it could be great, but the 2200 mile commute from our home wouldn’t really work out, I suspect.
I dream big. But even just having a dedicated sensory room—or, heck, a special sensory space in a quiet area—could be incredibly helpful to kids with sensory integration issues, don’t you think?
From my other blog:
Image of pink spiky ball via Shutterstock