Designing Sensory Spaces in the Inclusive Classroom

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is the condition that exists when sensory signals are not responding appropriately. SPD can be “described as a neurological ‘traffic jam’ that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly.” This often results in the disruption of one’s ability to participate in daily routines and activities. Evidence based research suggests that one of the best tactics for helping children overcome SPD is to immerse them in sensory rich play environments.

Many students with sensory needs struggle to interact and engage with peers in the typical classroom. Especially in early education classrooms, all of the commotion and hubbub associated with groups of young children can be overwhelming for some students. When children are overwhelmed by environments that do not meet their sensory needs, it becomes very difficult for them to focus on interacting with other children.

This design aims to facilitate the creation of meaningful connections and rich interactions in a safe sensory environment. Through sensory-based activities that promote relationship-building, this design will provide a way for children to interact with each other in a positive way that also meets their sensory needs. 

Talley Larkin

Growing up on the tiny island of Jamestown, Rhode Island, I happened to be surrounded by an unusual amount of designers, artists, and architects. I have been interested in art and architecture since I was a child, and these people influenced me to enroll in a design program. I learned that industrial and interaction design would provide a unique opportunity to express myself as an artist by applying my creativity to solving real-world problems. While exploring both classic product design and interaction design through the Syracuse Industrial and Interaction design curriculum, I’ve developed a great affinity for user experience design, service design, and design research. I’m curious, creative, and have a passion for designing with the user in mind. User experience design requires having an excellent understanding of technology, business goals, and psychology—all of which I have an acuity for. During my time at Syracuse, I have developed an empathetic view of the user that allows me to translate their needs into systematic design solutions.