Principal - September/October 2019 - 31

ation

yellows to elicit active play, use soft lavenders, greens, and blues. Mute the lighting
by placing fabric or plastic covers over the
light fixtures.
3. Use carpet or mats to cover floors/walls.
These might be carpet remnants, yoga
mats, or gym mats; they soften the surfaces
and deaden sound.
4. Add sensory/therapy room posters. Posters
can be purchased or handmade. Next
year, PACE West is adding posters to each
classroom in order to implement calming
strategies immediately after noticing trigger behaviors.
5. Make sensory equipment available. Start
small, and go big if you have the budget.
Buy items that are durable and easy to
clean. When ordering, seek advice from an
occupational therapist. Here is a partial listing of appropriate equipment:
* Therapy balls of all shapes, textures, and
sizes. PACE West has a space dedicated
to balls that students can use to kick,
jump over, squeeze, hug, cry on, punch,
and play with.
* Body socks. Made of Lycra, a body sock
is a fabric sack that covers the child's
body, with an opening for the head. It's
www.naesp.org

Personalized
Learning
a sensory-based tool used to provide proprioceptive and deep-pressure inputs.
* Weighted blankets, vests, and stuffed
animals. Students benefit from the
stimulation of pressure.
* Sensory peapod. This is a favorite sensory
item at PACE West that applies deep, even
pressure to sensitive areas of the body.
Students can gently rock side to side for a
"cocooning" calm, and most can get into
the pod on their own.
* Play tents and tunnels. These provide a
place for kids to crawl and use their
muscles while providing an intermission space to escape stimuli. Students
love them.
* Sensory swings and spinners. These offer a
kinetic distraction that helps calm students.
* Sensory bins. Sensory bins are containers
filled with materials selected to stimulate the senses, such as shredded paper,
bubble wrap, water beads, sand, and
therapy putty.
6. Start slowly. During our first year, PACE
West made the sensory room available only
to students receiving occupational therapy
(OT) services, allowing us to reflect on and
implement what works best. The following
year, we opened it to all students.
Similarly, our occupational therapist
trained only staff with students requiring
OT services in sensory strategies the first
year, followed by certified staff (teachers
and counselors) in the second year, and all
staff including teaching assistants in the
third year.
7. Keep a log. We have a sign-in log for
every student entering the sensory room;
they are not allowed in the room alone. A
staff member records the student's name,
date, time of entry/exit, and the reason.
This is important data for the school and
student to track.
PACE West's sensory room has had as positive an impact on students with emotional
disabilities and ADHD as it has had on
autistic students. It is one of our most effective positive behavior interventions and
a crucial tool in increasing learning and
instructional stamina.

SENSE AND
SENSIBILITY
A sensory room should
be used to reinforce the
right behaviors, according
to Edutopia's "Sensory
Room 101." Instead of
automatically sending kids
who act out to the MSE,
treat a visit to the space
as a reward or optional
break. Otherwise, you'll be
rewarding bad behavior.

Maria McDonald is principal of PACE West, Prince
William County Schools in Virginia.
Principal n September/October 2019

31


https://www.edutopia.org/article/sensory-room-101-betty-ray https://www.edutopia.org/article/sensory-room-101-betty-ray http://www.naesp.org

Principal - September/October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Principal - September/October 2019

From the Editor
Snapshots
5 Things
Getting to Why
A Brighter Future for Personalized Learning
Models of Voice and Choice
When Rural Gets Personal
Research Roundup: The Personal Touch
New Sensation
The Language of Learning
Giving Back, Together
In the Spotlight
Practitioner’s Corner
Early Career
Raising the Bar
The Reflective Principal
Speaking Out
Parents & Schools
NAESP Partners & Advertiser Index
Principal - September/October 2019 - Cover1
Principal - September/October 2019 - Cover2
Principal - September/October 2019 - 1
Principal - September/October 2019 - 2
Principal - September/October 2019 - 3
Principal - September/October 2019 - From the Editor
Principal - September/October 2019 - 5
Principal - September/October 2019 - Snapshots
Principal - September/October 2019 - 7
Principal - September/October 2019 - 5 Things
Principal - September/October 2019 - 9
Principal - September/October 2019 - Getting to Why
Principal - September/October 2019 - 11
Principal - September/October 2019 - 12
Principal - September/October 2019 - 13
Principal - September/October 2019 - 14
Principal - September/October 2019 - 15
Principal - September/October 2019 - A Brighter Future for Personalized Learning
Principal - September/October 2019 - 17
Principal - September/October 2019 - 18
Principal - September/October 2019 - 19
Principal - September/October 2019 - Models of Voice and Choice
Principal - September/October 2019 - 21
Principal - September/October 2019 - 22
Principal - September/October 2019 - 23
Principal - September/October 2019 - When Rural Gets Personal
Principal - September/October 2019 - 25
Principal - September/October 2019 - 26
Principal - September/October 2019 - 27
Principal - September/October 2019 - Research Roundup: The Personal Touch
Principal - September/October 2019 - 29
Principal - September/October 2019 - New Sensation
Principal - September/October 2019 - 31
Principal - September/October 2019 - The Language of Learning
Principal - September/October 2019 - 33
Principal - September/October 2019 - 34
Principal - September/October 2019 - 35
Principal - September/October 2019 - Giving Back, Together
Principal - September/October 2019 - 37
Principal - September/October 2019 - 38
Principal - September/October 2019 - 39
Principal - September/October 2019 - In the Spotlight
Principal - September/October 2019 - 41
Principal - September/October 2019 - Practitioner’s Corner
Principal - September/October 2019 - 43
Principal - September/October 2019 - Early Career
Principal - September/October 2019 - 45
Principal - September/October 2019 - Raising the Bar
Principal - September/October 2019 - 47
Principal - September/October 2019 - The Reflective Principal
Principal - September/October 2019 - 49
Principal - September/October 2019 - 50
Principal - September/October 2019 - 51
Principal - September/October 2019 - Speaking Out
Principal - September/October 2019 - 53
Principal - September/October 2019 - Parents & Schools
Principal - September/October 2019 - NAESP Partners & Advertiser Index
Principal - September/October 2019 - 56
Principal - September/October 2019 - Cover3
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