MIDDLE SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. — East Stroudsburg Area School district showed off a new therapy space for students in one of its elementary schools. Middle Smithfield Elementary School near Marshalls Creek now has a sensory room, designed to help children with special needs.
Julyza Diaz is having lots of fun but is learning, too. This 11-year-old fifth grader is one of dozens of other Middle Smithfield Elementary students who will be using the new sensory room at the school near Marshalls Creek.
“It’s really nice. The rock wall is one of my favorites. It’s interactive and you get to grab letters and spell different words,” said Julyza.
The room is designed to help children with special needs engage their senses.
There are calming spaces and interactive spaces all throughout the room.
Shae Jones is the social services coordinator at the school and one of the brains behind the project.
“It’s been really exciting. Everyone is really happy to be a part of this and to see it completed. It’s been a long project and I think it’s been a really positive response so far,” said Jones.
Now soon enough, these sensory rooms will be in all six elementary schools, and officials say they are even looking into adding rooms to secondary schools, too.
“At our secondary rooms we will probably add more calming elements as opposed to the more high-impact stuff here just to help regulate our kids and meet their sensory needs,” said Matthew Krauss, Access Program coordinator.
Students will use the room for 15 minutes, twice a day.
This room is scheduled to officially open for use next month and the children can’t wait.
“It’s just a lot of interaction and then you can relax and chill with your friends, little things like that,” said Julyza.
The rooms were funded by health insurance money that is required to go towards expanding opportunities for students with special needs.