North East Autism Society's Future-Proofed Sensory Room
Students at NE-AS Facility Newton Aycliffe School will be some of the first to benefit from new state-of-the-art sensory equipment
Leading sensory specialist Experia has created a new state-of-the-art room for young adults at Aycliffe School in County Durham.
The independent specialist school, which is based in the North East Centre for Autism, Newton Aycliffe, received more than £9,000 from the Postcode Community Trust (funded entirely by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery) to help finance the specialist project.
Kevin Durkin, Physiotherapist at Aycliffe School, said: “When the project began it was going to be a basic sensory room – like the one we had – but with new equipment and a better environment for the children using it. However, along the way when we turned to Experia for help in purchasing the correct equipment the project became something very special indeed.
“It’s a brilliant addition to our school and what makes all the work more robust is that it’s not just a room with some nice lights and music, it can be tailored to the needs of each child or group using it.”
After visiting the school and identifying the needs of those who would be using the room, Experia created a bespoke list of recommendations for the team at Aycliffe to ensure that staff and students would get the best experience while using the room.
Kevin continued: “Gareth, the Director of Experia, came for a visit and it was then he suggested we could ‘future proof’ the room.”
By working in collaboration on the project, Experia and NE-AS have been able to not only provide the the most advanced and innovative facility of its kind in the North East, but the partnership will continue to benefit users elsewhere too.
Gareth Jones, Director of Experia, said: “The North East Autism Society is a fantastic, forward-thinking charity with some very experienced members of staff. We’re really pleased that the extension to the project has gone down so well as we see this relationship with them as a long-term partnership. Our collaboration will not only benefit their users at Newton Aycliffe School, but we hope to utilise NEAS’s knowledge of autism to further develop our products and improve the lives of all our end users around the world.”
The room, which uses Experia's M.I.L.E technology is the most innovative of its kind in the north-east, is now up and running and staff at the centre are in the process of being trained how to use all the features to ensure those using the room get the most out of it.
Becki Harper, whose 13 year old son Aaron uses the centre, said: “Aaron has struggled throughout his life to manage his moods and can quite easily feel very overwhelmed. The sensory room is great because he can participate in what he wants to see and hear while he’s in there and it really helps him come down from a place where his emotions are no longer controllable. He’s definitely happier and healthier when he’s in there.”
“I’m continually overwhelmed when I hear that people have created something that will help my child. So yes, I’m very grateful indeed. Thank you.”
Experia is one of the UK’s leading designers, manufacturers and installers of sensory equipment, creating products to assist those with sensory development. The company works with health professionals, teachers and parents across the country to create tailored packages to enable individuals to develop their sensory needs, including state-of-the-art rooms featuring a range of innovative products such as wireless technology and MILE.
The North East Autism Society creates personalised care packages for the children, young people and adults who use its services, which include schools, college, training centre, residential care and short breaks.