Holly's handmade sensory room

Burton and South Derbyshire College’s (BSDC) Andrew Phillips Unit, which houses its Foundation Learning department, recently received an exciting renovation to its sensory room by degree student, Holly Fyson.

BSDC Contemporary Art Practice (BA Hons) student, Holly Fyson was looking for a project to complete for her course, so she was signposted to the College’s Foundation Learning department. They set her the exciting brief of transforming a plain white room into an appealing space, which needed to combine a range of stimuli to help students develop and engage their senses.

Holly took on the challenge, adorning the room with lights, colours and sensory soft play objects and walls to create a specially designed and safe environment for students to explore and interact.

She used her creative talent to produce an array of handmade items for the students to enjoy, including cushions, textured patterns on the walls and quirky animal puzzle magnets that she drew by hand, designed to let students get imaginative by matching parts of animals to create some interesting creatures.

The sensory room is open throughout the day during college hours so that students can take time out to use it whenever they need to. This is part of the support and facilities that are designed to help students feel safe, relaxed and comfortable at college.

Holly said: “For this project, the College was my client and they provided me with a live brief outlining the student requirements for the sensory room. It needed to be tactile and visual, but also contemporary and modern. It took four months to complete, I stayed within the budget and I enjoyed making everything while meeting the requirements. It’s been a great experience.”

Deanne Atkins, Team Leader for Foundation Learning said:

“The updated sensory room has proven invaluable to our learners, as they can now safely explore their senses within secure surroundings. By encouraging them to engage and examine the new environment, it helps with their ability to react and interact with the larger world around them, in addition to improving coordination, motor development and promoting cognitive development.

"It is wonderful to see how excited the learners are to enter the space, and it is accessible throughout the day so they can learn to employ their own strategies and use the space to self-regulate as required. We are extremely grateful to offer such an exceptional resource for our learners.”

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