ST Mark’s School, which caters to children and teenagers with special educational needs, will be opening up its new sensory room today.
The ribbon will be cut by Seán Hall, Managing Director of Manguard Plus, one of the room’s main sponsors.
The school received no grants for the construction of the room and it is the result of a huge fundraising effort, a duck race held back in 2018 by staff, students and parents, as well as donations by various other sponsors.
Acting principal Ross Dignam said students with sensory needs and self-regulation requirements will find that the features of this room will be of great benefit when seeking sensory stimulation.
“The room will allow a student to regulate themselves for a short period so that they can re-engage with their other learning activities in a more concentrated way,” he said.
Mr Dignam explained that there will be a maximum of three students in the sensory room at any one time, as the room is not for ordinary classroom work but instead will act as “an aid to self-regulation between learning activities” for the school’s pupils.
Some special features in the room include a bubble-tube, a star projector, ball pool and a mirror ball.
Ms Alma Carley, the school’s principal who is currently on secondment leave, designed and planned the room, where she used her extensive background in autism (ASD) research to identify the most suitable features for the room.
Sensory rooms are designed to engage users and help them to develop and practise a range of skills in a peaceful environment. Examples of these skills include hand-eye co-ordination, stimulating the senses and encouraging independence.
Mr. Dignam added: “Students are naturally very excited and the staff are delighted that the great efforts put in with the fundraising have realised something tangible for our students”.
St. Mark’s School caters for pupils with special educational needs.
The school offers:
- A primary/transition programme
- A Junior Cycle programme (L1LP)
- A Leaving Cycle programme (QQI levels 1 and 2)
in a happy and safe learning environment and works to allow their pupils to live full, independent lives, and to help them to integrate successfully into society.