Share's My SPACE – Sensory Processing Analysing Creative Exploration – project is a 12-week journey working with a number of our autistic students to help them better understand their senses in their own environment.
The project, which is funded by Lifelong Learning, uses creative tools to help our students to explore and manage 'old' sensations as well as experience new ones, and get a understanding what they like and don't like with a view to building their own Sensory Tool Kit which celebrates each person's sensory needs and wellbeing.
The sessions focus on a number of senses, including taste, smell, sound, sight, touch and movement. The aim of the project is to support our students to become more familiar and confident in making choices, helping them to manage their own wellbeing better by improving their self-awareness, self-reliance and resilience.
For example, Nigel, a confident learner who is quite comfortable participating in group activities but who can sometimes be easily distracted, discovered that he liked the smell of mint and lemon – the presence of which might help him to feel more settled in a space to help him overcome the urge to walk out of a situation.
And Cally, an organised and steady worker who may experience sudden mood swings, discovered that blowing bubbles helps her to relax and self-regulate.
For some students, such as Medina, who is very comfortable in a wide range of environments, the project aims to support them to understand and express what they don't like, and to know that it is OK and normal to dislike certain things.
The project is still ongoing so watch this space for more discoveries!