Colourful safe haven for Riverside students

THROUGH a set of doors at the Riverside Education Support school is a safe haven to help relax students feeling emotionally charged.

Known as the sensory room, school student services coordinator Tamarra Rekman said they had needed the room since the school’s opening in 1995.

“We took whatever space we could get to create this valuable resource, it’s very special to have a room like this,” she said.

Costing $10,000 the space had been renovated from a “glorified store room” to a place where students could spend 10 to 20 minutes unwinding after an agitating experience.

Ms Rekman said any student could use the room but those with autism spectrum disorder would get the most out of it.

“Students who are really anxious can’t focus when their emotions are involved so they can take time out, visit the room and get back to class calm and ready to learn,” she said.

Teacher Ailsa Williams said they had been using the room since February 15 and it really worked.

“We have slots for the seven different classes to visit the room but 20 minutes after recess and lunch the room is for students who need it most,” she said.

Year 4 student Haydn Randall-Markey said he loved the ball pit.

“I feel happy when I’m in there,” he said.

“Before I go in the ball pit I’m feeling a bit uptight.”

The room has props to stimulate the students with vibrating cushions, weight blankets and stretch socks.

Ms Rekman said the school was very lucky to have an area like this and they looked forward to adding additional props each year.