If I said to you that I was going to construct a studio in your school, centre or home, what would you think? A studio, what kind? Music, drama, art, dance, television, or even a creative science lab could come to mind. Like many multisensory environments, much of the equipment used in a sensory theme room originates from the mainstream theatre or discotheque market. So, why not offer all practitioners and students imaginative, interactive and exciting tools and let them decide what to do with them? The creativity of the rooms is driven by their flexibility. The lack of a philosophical approach in many ways keeps the area adaptable. The sensory theme room is a learning space, which can encompass all of the uses mentioned above.
In addition to its suitability in a special education setting, schools and adult services are increasingly recognising that the studio approach is suitable in a mixed ability situation. The tools can achieve varied outcomes but, importantly, these tools can be relaxing, exciting, innovative and fun! At school, the studio can offer a host of opportunities as the equipment makes learning at any level appropriate and interesting. We know that students with special educational needs will benefit from the stimulation and communication potential the tools have to offer but all children and adults need to be inspired to learn at all levels. For children, stories come to life as they see the images from a narrative projected onto a wall, hands-on science. For adults, drama can be magical when enhanced with the tools the studio has to offer; they may take a part in the organisation of the performance.
It is important to recognise that we all have different learning styles and the tools can enhance any learning environment. When the tools are mastered, scenarios are not complex or unachievable for practitioners, but most importantly the tools make this fun for a wide range of students to share the experience. The sensory theme room has the flexibility to become a place for relaxation, stimulation and learning.