Pop Up Sensory Rooms Provide a Safe Space for Aggies on the Spectrum
A sensory room helps reduce overstimulation, creates a safe space to self-organize and regain a sense of calm.
Olivia Garza '23, Texas A&M University Division of Student Affairs
The sensory room includes low lighting, comfortable seating, white noise machines or soft music, fidget items and art supplies.
Disability Resources, Texas A&M University Division of Student Affairs
Feeling connected to campus is a big part of what makes students feel like they belong at Texas A&M University. For students on the autism spectrum, forming that connection can be difficult. Thankfully, Disability Resources’ Spectrum in Aggieland initiative has programs that make building those relationships a little bit easier. The initiative has weekly meetings and provides a safe space for Texas A&M students on the autism spectrum.
Spectrum in Aggieland started as a Living Learning Community and recently transitioned to a program that is open to both on- and off-campus students. Spectrum in Aggieland provides resources to its participants including help building community, support from the Writing Center, and guest speakers from the Career Center. The initiative also facilitates programs to educate faculty and staff on inclusivity.
Pop-up sensory rooms are one of the newest resources that Spectrum in Aggieland offers. A sensory room helps reduce over-stimulation, creates a space to self-organize and helps regain a sense of calm. Although intended for individuals on the autism spectrum, a sensory room can benefit a variety of students. “It kind of gives you that time to put your phone away, put your homework away and be in the present moment,” Leslie Casarez, primary coordinator of Spectrum in Aggieland, said.
The sensory room equipment is portable, so pop-ups can be set up anywhere on campus. The idea is to create a space for students – especially those on the autism spectrum – to take a break when events become overstimulating.
The first pop-up sensory room was held during Howdy Week and was well received by students. Around 75 students dropped by to explore the space. The Agriculture and Life Sciences Career Fair on Sept. 21 and 22, 2023 will host a pop-up sensory room in tandem with their event.
On-campus events can request to use the pop-up sensory room equipment to create a calm, sensory friendly space during their event.