Monthly Archives: August 2014

Advent House Sensory Room

The experience of sourcing and costing a sensory room for people with learning difficulties, physical and sensory impairments, autism and mental health needs is a tall order. Deciding on equipment is a minefield, do we need bubble tubes? Yes. Do we need soft furnishings? Yes. Do we need seating and bean bags? yes. Will it be safe? The ultimate question. When I was discussing a new service with the Jayne, the Responsible Individual, the sensory room was high on the wish list. What shall we buy? How much will it cost? What about people with autism, physical needs, sensory needs? Jayne and I are both from a nursing background in the learning disability field we had both worked with ROMPA® products before so after a look at the catalogue and seeing a plethora of equipment we were both undecided about the amount of equipment we would need to fill the space we had.

We phoned ROMPA® and arranged a meeting where we could look and try the equipment and experience what our service users would. We were greeted by friendly knowledgeable staff who showed off their equipment. What a truly fantastic experience it was, we were introduced to Sensory Magic. The company showed off and championed this equipment – and why not it is truly a magical piece of kit. I can remember coming out of the experience “buzzing” and daring to ask if we could afford this unique, quality piece of kit.  After negotiations with the Directors we were told to look into the next steps of costing and measuring up. The ROMPA® team came up to our house whilst it was being built, took specifications, liaised with the building team and developed a blue print of the sensory room along with a 3D drawing of what it would look like when it was completed. The 3D picture was stuck on the door of the sensory room and whilst commissioning I explained to people who were interested in placing service users with us that “this is what it will look like when it’s finished”

When the electrics and the tracking and hoists were in place the technical team from ROMPA® came and fitted all the equipment we had asked for, stayed and showed us how to use it and gave us the confidence to work with the system utilising it to the max. For the first week or so the room got used at every opportunity and I introduced it to other Managers who I work alongside – I thought that maybe there would be a decline in it’s use after the initial novelty period. How wrong I was! Other homes started to book time in to use it and we started to have events where we could use the sensory room for multiple uses for multiple service users.

The upshot of this is that we have a quality piece of equipment that has multiple uses, is safe, is suitable for many different service users, is adaptable, can be upgraded, has a technical support that is second to none (they can even solve problems from their base in Chesterfield whilst we are in Wakefield).

The feedback we have received is of admiration of the room and it’s equipment, not solely from the people who use it but from the support workers, families of service users, commissioners, people who come to do training at the service and the people who regulate us the C.Q.C. However, the feedback doesn’t just equate to people telling us what they think of the room, they keep coming back!

Richard Burton
Registered Manager

Massage for children with ASD or SPD

senSI - Sensory Integration Therapy As a Holistic and Beauty Therapist with a background in SEN, I was asked by senSI Limited to consider providing Complimentary Therapies for children they work with, with a population predominately having Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD).    I was excited by this opportunity, as I recognise how massage can make a big impact on someone both emotionally and physically, and that few clinics and centres offer such treatments for children, with or without additional needs. Touch is an important influence on a child’s healthy development and in my opinion, whether you have a treatment for relaxation or to ease aches and pains, massage should be an essential for life for all ages.


Adapting Complimentary Therapy for children with Sensory Processing Disorders

I have applied my knowledge and understanding of Swedish Body Massage and adapted the approach for children with ASD and SPD.  senSI complete an initial assessment and from this, identify whether massage, reiki, relaxation sessions etc would be helpful.  Together we devise a treatment plan to incorporate their needs.  I always discuss the treatment plan with both parents and the child, as it is very important to me that the child is comfortable and feels safe.

  • We create visual aids to support the child, i.e. body maps to help them anticipate the touch, stop signs for children who struggle to express this verbally, pressure indicator to help them remain in control as to the amount of force they like.
  • We use sandtimers if needed, to help with predictability so that the child is as comfortable as they can be before we start.
  • Due to Olfactory sensitivity, I use non-scented products
  • Due to Vestibular sensitivity/ gravitational insecurity, I am flexible in how I position the child, and understand if they cannot manage to tolerate backward space or a supine position.
  • I use inflatable mattresses and equipment if this gentle vestibular movement helps the child relax
  • I use white noise within sessions if the child likes this
  • I use dimmed lighting for the child with visual sensitivity
  • I use aromatherapy and scents for a child who is olfactory seeking
  • I use weighted eye masks, weighted blankets and other equipment throughout sessions, and at the end of the therapy, which most of the children have positively commented on
  • I use natural warmth, such as warm towels and hot water bottles to help promote the sense of calm
  • I use the child’s motivators and special interests within my sessions i.e. Thomas the Tank Engine visuals and pillows for example

I only use relaxing methods and work on only hands and feet to begin with and over various sessions build to include additional limbs.  Currently I am working with a 10 year boy who would only let me work on his hands, forearms, feet and lower legs however now, after his sixth session I have been able to provide massage on his neck and face.  This is hugely encouraging for the child, parents and me.  They were all surprised that he has let me provide such a thorough treatment.  Furthermore, to watch their child lie for an hour and relax (almost to the point of being asleep) is something that his parents thought they would never see. This makes my job extremely rewarding.



We have found that for some children with ASD and SPD, massage seems to often provide relaxation, stress reduction and calm muscle spasms.  Over time, touch therapy also helps the child to become more accustomed to tactile stimulation and really helps develop body awareness.  Often by incorporating massage therapy into daily routines, children with ASD may experience improved sleeping.

Here a few other reasons why massage therapy can be beneficial;

  • Better sensory regulation
  • Better self regulation, with children more able to identify feelings of stress and strategies that can help them relax
  • Improved motor skills, especially for children with ADHD we have found
  • Body awareness –  touch and proprioception feedback
  • Emotional development
  • Enhanced Attachment, especially when we teach the caregivers certain techniques to apply to their child, rather than be therapist led
  • Improved Self-esteem / confidence
  • Self awareness
  • Improved daily living skills, particularly washing and dressing
  • Ability to recognise the difference between good and bad touch
  • Improved bonding with one case, where I have taught the parents basic massage principles and they have been facilitating this with their child

I hope you have found this useful and should you be interested in a treatment for your child in East Anglia, please contact me at; [email protected] or via senSI at [email protected]

Thank You!


Holistic Therapist

senSI Limited

The Alan Shearer Centre A Year On!

The Alan Shearer Activity Centre is a specialist recreational, sensory and social resource for disabled people of all ages and catering to a wide spectrum of need.

The facilities are completely free of charge to disabled people and their families and they include a fantastic Rompa Sensory room, a giant ball pool room, a hydrotherapy suite and a music room. There’s also a café on site with a range of snacks and treats on sale!

It is a year since we installed the fantastic Sensory Magic room (The Lilac Room) at the Alan Shearer Centre in Newcastle.

And we have had some fabulous feedback:

(click the image to enlarge)

Mike Delivers a Tactile Pyramid to Gully’s Place

Today I had the pleasure of representing Rompa at Gully’s place. Gully’s place provide palliative care for children and their families. Whilst there I met William (3) who has cancer, his big brother Gary (6) and Marion who is a sister on the ward.

We’re delighted that we could contribute to fund raising efforts of Gully’s Place by donating the tactile pyramid you can see in the photo. William absolutely loved it and got stuck straight into exploring it.

Mike at Gully's Place

Marion, William and Gary with Mike at Gullys’s Place

Gully’s place have a satellite site called Julia’s hospice who also now have an end of life suite and are interested in a sensory room. Plus Dorchester hospital are about to open a Gully’s place of their own which will also require an additional sensory room.

Gully’s Place have done a magnificent job of raising funds for their sensory room, including having plucky volunteers jump out of a perfectly good aeroplane to raise money for the ward. Well done to everyone who contributed their time and money to this wonderful facility.