YORKTOWN, N.Y. – For some students at Pines Bridge School in Yorktown, the simple act of being relaxed and attentive throughout the school day can be a challenge.
The school recently installed a multi-sensory environment (MSE) room intended to help students with physical or cognitive challenges by stimulating them with audio, visuals and various items that can be touched.
Occupational therapists prefer MSE rooms because the extra stimuli goes a long way in helping people change behaviors.
Pines Bridge' MSE room features 10 stations, each with a fan light that responds to sound, bubble tubes with ability to change colors and alternate bubble speeds, repeating parrots, disco balls and an opti-solar projector that can projects colors all over the room.
“Most of the students love it,” says Pines Bridge occupational therapist Dawn Galvin. “It’s a chance for them to get out of their equipment, out of their wheelchairs and move around freely. This is a rare opportunity for them to make choices.”
Therapists can also alternate the lights and music if students get overexcited, as high-energy lighting can be dimmed and loud rock becomes soft piano music if needed.
“I love MSE. It’s wonderful to see the kids enjoying themselves,” adds occupational therapist Sarah Kaplan.
“Most students are entirely dependent on adults to do everything for them so it’s important for them to have that feeling of empowerment that MSE can give. With the lightest touch, everything can change around them.”
The room was built with a combination of donations, grants, installations from Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES Tech Center students, and Pines Bridge staff and students.
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