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Sensory rooms a hit with autism community, five months after their introduction

Located in a facility on Rankin Road, the rooms include space for calming, play and just hanging out

Sensory rooms installed during the Algoma Autism Foundation Fall Festival last September have been well received so far by the public. 

The rooms — which are free to use — are located at the headquarters of Brenna Lanktree and Associates Inc. Behavioural Therapy and Consultation on Rankin Road. They became a reality thanks to a $10,000 donation from Jeff Viotto and The Co-operators Advisory Community Fund. 

Jamie Boston, Algoma Autism Foundation co-founder, said a lot of people have been using the rooms and they’re usually very busy. 

“There’s three rooms. The first room is the sensory quiet room. There’s different lighting in there, different features to add a calming effect, and it’s got comfy furniture in it,” he said. “Then there’s the actual sensory playroom for recreational play. It has a ball pit, a climbing rock wall, a rope swing, and a bunch of different tactile learning stations. The third room is set up more like a lounge, there’s a couple large tables for activities, some couches, and a TV and gaming console.” 

All of the floors are rubberized for safety, and everyone seems to be enjoying all that the rooms have to offer. 

“There’s also a clubhouse, which a lot of teenagers use as a place to hang out,” Boston said. “We do some programming there like Nerf Wars, Game Night, Pokemon Night, and other theme nights for the teenagers.” 

In addition to managing these sensory rooms, the Algoma Autism Foundation hosts a multitude of events for the autism community, including sleigh rides, yoga, sensitive swims, candy bar bingo, movies, snowmobile rides with Sault Search and Rescue, and other fundraising events. 

“Basically anything and everything we can get our hands on to make things more accessible for children with needs . . . we’re either doing it or willing to try to do it.”

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Zaafina Naqvi

About the Author: Zaafina Naqvi

Zaafina Naqvi is a writer and editor at SooToday.
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