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The Interactions section of the Abilitations Web site shows a picture of a simple design. I used it to design my sensory room.


Creating a multi-sensory room in your home begins with a little imagination and a special room, which can be a small nook or big space.

I chose a room that used to be a waiting room for a doctorís office in our house. But many people use spare rooms in their basements or attics. It really doesnít matter, as long as you can darken the room to get the most out of the visual effects.

Whatever room you choose, your objective should be to keep it simple. A conventional sensory room consists of a bubble tube, soft mats, a fiber-optic light source, bean bag chairs, cause-and-effect toys, a mirrored Disco ball and projector, and music. Paint the walls a pastel color; white looks too clinical, and take down any pictures or posters.

I also got more ideas by visiting the Web sites of the companies that sell multi-sensory equipment. My favorite: Rompaís online superstore was the oldest manufacturer of sensory equipment before being acquired by Flaghouse.

Once I surveyed the market, I knew I had to come up with ways to replicate the equipment they sold because I couldnít afford the high-ticket prices found on these sites.

Take Rompaís Tranquility product, a large bubble tube surrounded by mirrors,

How to Set Up a Multi-Sensory Room At Home

built-in cushions and a spray of fiber-optic strings. This $2,124.44 piece of equipment can easily be replicated at a fraction of the cost but on a smaller scale for home use with materials found at a hardware store and online.

For example, CoolStuffCheap sells a 54-inch bubble lamp that comes with changeable color filters for $54.99. Thatís more than $1,000 less than the Abilitation's standard 60-inch bubble tube, which is about 3 inches wider in diameter, changes color automatically and vibrates.

I placed the bubble lamp in a corner and installed closet mirrors from Home Depot where the walls came together. The reflection of the bubble tube in the mirrors gives the impression of several tubes. Cost: Less than $70.

Since I couldnít build in the cushions, I chose bean bag chairs. Not-a-Beanbag.com sells "poof" chairs, which look like bean bag chairs but are filled with big chunks of polyurethane foam so they donít mat down as easily. I recommend the small Poof chair in velvet for $99. Donít get vinyl; itís cold and uncomfortable.

I also turned to CoolStuffCheap for inexpensive fiber-optic lighting, but Spencer Gifts sells similar items. Purchasing online was easier because I didnít have to lug all of the stuff home. I also didnít have to pay taxes or shipping because of a special promotion CoolStuffCheap was running that month.

For a ball pit, I used an old portable crib and filled it with balls I bought from Toys ĎR Us. I bought 100 balls for $40. That hardly fills up the crib, however. I really need more.

As a finishing touch, I put shimmer curtains over the windows on spring-loaded rods. I bought them for $14.95

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