CADDO PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – On Thursday, a Caddo Parish school celebrated helping children with autism overcome unique challenges.
Inside the home of the Patriots at Donnie Bickham Middle School is a special classroom that has been transformed into a sensory experience. With glowing lights, changing colors, and activities to distract and ultimately put kids back on track. It’s called an autism sensory room. It’s filled with unique features called sensory guides created especially for those with autism.
“It’s so beneficial for a school environment because of the uniqueness of the room. No longer are the days where we have to send kids home or call the parent if we have a kid who may be having some challenging behaviors. We can determine, based on their regulation zone, if they are overly excited or underlying excited. Or what we need to do to provide support,” said Executive Director of the Dept. of Exceptional Children for Caddo Parish Schools Dr. Sheila Lockett.
The teacher’s organization, Red River United, secured a grant from the American Federation of Teachers to partner with Caddo Parish schools to fund the project. Leaders came together Thursday for a ribbon cutting to celebrate its opening.
“We’re so thankful to be in a community where different organizations always step up to support the work we do for children,” said the Superintendent of Caddo Parish Schools, Dr. Lamar Goree.
They say the room is meant as a safe place for students to calm down and center their focus in order to return to the classroom and be productive.
“It really gives a place for students to go and de-escalate. To have a moment of silence to re-gather themselves as they go throughout their school day. So it gives them a place where they can be themselves,” said Executive vice president of Red River United Jordan Thomas.
The room provides a place of comfort that acknowledges a special need to help young minds prosper.
Dr. Goree says they will monitor the progress of the sensory room with hopes of bringing more spaces like it to other schools.