By Stephanie Bartelt, The Sensory Club
Many people across the United States have varying levels and kinds of disabilities and don’t have access to a facility designed to meet their special needs. The Sensory Club was started because the owner, Brian W. Hall, saw that need and decided to make a difference. Our sensory gym and MSE (Multi-Sensory Environment) room were designed exclusively with Southpaw products. We have the amazing privilege of seeing the progress of our members on a regular basis.
Recently a 3-year-old with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) was in the MSE room and was afraid to go in the fiber optic tunnel. Her big brother, who also has SPD, climbed in a few minutes later, and she followed him willingly. It was a beautiful moment for their parents and me to witness, as the big brother was excited that he had made his little sister brave, and they sat together in the tunnel. The MSE room was not only meeting his sensory needs, but it was also helping to give him confidence.
When asked about the MSE room, one 11-year-old with anxiety told us, “It’s my happy place. When I go in there, I get back to a calm level and I can function in life again.”
One of the important aspects of the MSE room is that any member, no matter his or her abilities, can utilize and enjoy the room. The experience in the MSE room can be specifically adapted to meet the needs of all members, giving them exactly the sensory input that will help them the most. It provides both a stimulating and calming atmosphere and requires as much or as little input as the member is able to give. The ability to change the entire room just by bumping the interactive power cube allows every member, regardless of verbal or physical abilities, to affect the environment. This can enhance and develop cause-and-effect understanding, concentration, and memory abilities.
Emalee, a 22-year-old member, was told she would never finish high school. She is now off her ADHD medicine, graduated from high school, and will graduate from technical school this December. Emalee says that The Sensory Club’s gym and MSE room have been a major reason for her success.
Many of our members are non-verbal, with severe disabilities that greatly affect the entire family. Last week a mother called to rave about her son’s progress. Her son is severely autistic and has been a member for only six weeks. She said that her son’s life has been completely changed by The Sensory Club. She said she has never seen him so happy, and he is talking more than he ever has before in his entire life. The joy and peace these changes brought to this family are beyond words. We are thrilled that with the help of Southpaw, we are able to make an impact on people’s lives and continue to hear stories like these.