ESPA College opened in 1995 and has four college sites across the North East, providing day and residential education for young autistic people between the ages of 16 and 25 years. The majority of students have additional and complex needs including learning disabilities, ADHD, mental health conditions, behaviours that challenge and sensory issues.
Their South Hill site, located in Sunderland, provides personalised learning programmes to autistic and neurodiverse individuals, some with moderate to profound learning disabilities.
Over the summer of 2021, ESPA College South Hill was granted funding and official Karten Centre status and saw the successful installation of a brand-new Sensory Room.
Sensory needs of students can be a barrier to their education, and as everyone deserves access to education, the installation of this state-of-the-art sensory room supports students to manage their sensory needs, making it easier to focus and participate in lessons and community activities.
The space was created in collaboration with Mike Ayres Design and college staff. The team chose a suitable space in their building, and selected the very best equipment, to meet the complex sensory needs of their students.
The Sensory Room features:
- Large bubble tube
- Rainbow light bar
- Tactile cause and effect wall panel
- Sound and light wall panel
- Interactive fibreoptic unit
- Sensory projector
- Sparkle cloud
- Integrated audio and visual system
The Sensory Room has been constructed to give the users direct control of the equipment via an iPad or the nine-switch keyboard, and can be used as an interactive learning environment, or a quiet relaxation area.
Students and Social Hub Members have returned to college for the Autumn term and have already provided some positive feedback on their new sensory room. ESPA College look forward to sharing this fantastic resource with all ESPA services.
Quotes from students:
Jirapat says “I like the bubble tube, it makes me feel relaxed”
Charlie says “I like the lights and relaxing music”
Alex says: “I like lying down and relaxing”