CHS opens sensory lab for students

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Jackson Ray, along with CHS administrators and students, cuts the ribbon for Cullman High School’s new sensory room Tuesday. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune) 

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman High School is becoming even more creative in finding new ways for students to engage and succeed, with the campus adding a sensory lab to serve as a therapeutic space for the development of all students. 

Sensory rooms have become a popular and creative concept in recent years, acting as creative spaces with a variety of equipment that provide students with special needs, anxiety and social/emotional challenges personalized sensory input. Cullman High School Principal Kim Hall said the administration spent countless hours researching the benefits of a sensory room and decided the concept was a great fit for Cullman High. 

The sensory room at Cullman High features low-lights, projections on the wall, chunky, comfortable furniture and different textured materials across the space. 

“It provides a specific area for students to calm and focus themselves so they can be better prepared for learning and interacting with others. In addition to the endless benefits this sensory room will offer to students, this new space at CHS will help the administration, teachers and staff achieve our commitment to the students, their families and the community of Cullman,” Hall explained. “Each student at Cullman High School is recognized as an individual with varying needs, interests, learning capacities, talents and aspirations. The curricula and extra-curricular opportunities are adapted, and a variety of teaching methods and materials are utilized in order to meet the individual needs of our students. Adding a sensory room is just the next step in that journey, creating a space where students can thrive.” 

Hall went on to explain how the addition of a sensory room fits into the school’s curriculum and academic strategy, stresses basic skills, awareness of the technologies of an ever-changing world, vocational skills and an appreciation of the fine arts. 

“Cullman High School is committed to providing a learning environment and school program that will foster the intellectual, physical, emotional and social development of each child to his or her greatest potential,” Hall added. “At CHS, we consistently strive to improve, identify the needs, and address the learning and emotional environment for all students. This includes students who may have severe autism, down syndrome, emotional and anger issues or other challenges. These past few years have brought to light the need for expanded support of social and emotional needs in the school setting.” 

Assistant Principal of Facilities Aaron Sparks played a key role in implementing the sensory room, and the administration thanked contributors and sponsors, including Wal-Mart and its local managers David Roberts, Joey Chidress and Ken Caviness. The school also thanked the Alabama State Senate, Alabama Sen. Garlan Gudger, R-Cullman, Cullman City Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Patterson and the Cullman City Board of Education, CCS Student Services Coordinator Dawn Nesmith, CCS Support Services Coordinator Hayden Faulk, Chris Parker, Gary Lay, the CHS Art Department, Elizabeth Miller, National Art Honor Society students, the CHS Agri-Science Department and David Benefield.