In 2019 Gladney opened our Gladney Home Residential program for teenage girls currently in foster care. One of the things that we really desired for the Home was a Sensory Room for the girls where they would be able to have their sensory needs met and engage in sensory rich experiences. We know the importance and impact that sensory integration can have for youth, especially youth that have experienced trauma. In 2021, we are excited that we have been able to make the dream of our sensory spaces a reality! Thanks to the generosity of the Sid W. Richardson Foundation as well as being able to partner with Stacy’s Sensory Solutions we have created 2 rooms for our girls in the Home to use.
Our “active” room is a bright space where the girls have lots of options – they can use fitness equipment, use different weighted medicine balls for workouts or weight resistance, or work on getting aggression out through the punching bag or BOA (bag of air)! Additionally we have a Jellyfish chair that offers an opportunity to get the “wiggles” out and also can be used for providing movement while also trying to focus on other activities. We have fun visual stimulation through the floor tiles and a “crash” area in the corner that is a favorite space. This room is a place for the girls to use when they are having big and overwhelming feelings and need a safe and active physical way to express them.
Our “calming” room offers a sense of tranquility as soon as you enter. With filters over the lighting to soften the glow of the room, essential oils in the diffuser, and soothing sounds on the sound machine it is a perfect place for our girls to wind down, to take a break, or to gather themselves when feeling anxious or overwhelmed. The calming room has a LYCRA® swing in the corner, a huge LoveSac bean bag, and lots of cozy seating. Additionally, the bubble tubes are fun to watch (and are visually calming!) and all of the art on the walls was specifically made by Stacy’s Sensory Solutions to be able to be touched for tactile sensory input. We have our library housed in the calming room as well as puzzles and brain teaser games for the girls to work on. Weighted blankets and lap pads sit in a basket in the corner of the room and the shelves are lined with various fidgets to fulfill different sensory needs of the girls. This room is often used to calm, focus, and re-center, as well as a space for the girls to wind down before bedtime.
Since we have opened these rooms they are used daily in the Gladney Home. They have provided an additional layer to our programming and for our youth that allows us to continue to meet their needs in the best ways possible. We are so thankful to have these different spaces for them to explore!