A SENSORY room which will improve the education of children with special needs has been opened at the Hershel Weiss Centre in Salford, serving Manchester’s Strictly Orthodox community.
As well as calming music and images, features of the room include tactile balls and a carpet which changes colour when, for example, children crawl on it. It is named in memory of trustee Rochel Feingold, who taught Jewish history to high-school pupils. Three generations of her family are Hershel Weiss users.
The resource was six years in the planningandcentremanagerMichelleCiffer was “on cloud nine” at its opening.
“It’s a dream I’ve been trying to achieve for a while,” she said. “We saw a lot of families who couldn’t bring their children anywhere after school. We wanted to provide something to them for free.”
The facility would enhance learning and calm children with “autism or mental-health issues which make them agitated”. She likened the relaxing environment to “a spa without water”, adding that the centre had been inundated with requests about use, including one from a local home for the elderly.
“A set of twins with cerebral palsy and a five-year-old boy with autism have used it. Yesterday we had a baby ballet session and the young mothers said it was so calming for them and their kids.” Plans are afoot to engage an occupational therapist.