The Parent Staff Association of Brookfield School plans to raise over £25,000 to help set up a purpose built sensory room.
Brookfield School caters for pupils aged 3-11 years with moderate and complex learning needs and is based between Moira and Lisburn.
“A high proportion of pupils attending the school are on the Autistic Spectrum,” principal Barbara Spence explained. “Sensory integration allows our pupils to access many aspects of the curriculum more fully, allowing pupils to feel calm, alert and ready to work.
“Our planned sensory room will meet many of these needs and will also allow other pupils in school the opportunity to self-regulate at times of anxiety and stress.”
Anna Donnelly, nursery teacher and member of PSA said, “Each class in school tries their best to create sensory areas within or outside of their classroom to support their children but unfortunately this just isn’t enough.
“A designated sensory room would provide an area specifically designed to help our pupils develop and engage their senses through a range of stimuli with lights, colours, sounds, bubble tubes, aromas.
“It would help our children learn to interact with the world around them, but in a safe environment that builds up their confidence and their ability.
“Benefits include sensory stimulation, enhancing learning and play, development of spatial awareness, movement and balance skills and they can provide a calming and comforting environment for individuals who are feeling stressed or anxious.”
Jamie Brown, is also a member of the PSA and has a five-year-old daughter Kinley at the school.
“A sensory room would be invaluable to all the children at the school,” she said. “Teachers try to create sensory areas but a room is definitely needed. This room will cost a lot of money so we are trying to get the whole community involved. The sad thing is the children need this room now but the money simply is not there to set one up yet.
“Most special schools have sensory units or rooms but for whatever reason Brookfield was never allocated one.”
Among the fundraising events the PSA have held recently were a car boot sale, a 5p Friday February event and a raffle at the Christmas show.