A sensory room can be a great addition to a house with a special needs child. Determining what would be good additions as well as affordable ones can be time consuming. Sarah is my guest poster today who is going to tell us how she made one on a military budget.
When we found out my little girl, Amelia, had Sensory Processing Disorder, so many pieces fell into place. So much of her life made more sense to me. When she was later diagnosed with Autism, the whole picture became clear. Our first order of business after her SPD diagnosis was to make her a sensory room. If you’re reading this then you’re probably like me and you saw the price of things that an OT suggested which made you laugh then cry because wow… that stuff is expensive! We are a family of 5 that lives on one income because I stay at home to homeschool. Building Amelia’s therapy room had to be budget friendly or else it just wasn’t going to happen. My mission was to figure out the cheapest way to get her what she needed.
Let me begin by telling you a little about Amelia. She just turned 3 and is considered Highly Functioning Autistic. She’s a sensory seeker as well as an avoider, so I have her room set up to have super seeking opportunities in addition to a safe space to avoid the world when she needs it. Obviously, it’s geared towards a younger child, but many of the things in her room can and do work for older kids who have sensory needs.
Pardon the dog. That’s Winnie, and she’s never far from her babies.
Amelia’s room isn’t huge, so we had to maximize space while also making sure she had everything we needed. After researching her particular needs (vestibular and proprioceptive dysfunction) we started with a slide, a swing, and a trampoline. Yes, all in her room! The slide we have is a Step 2 Play and Fold Slide.
It’s pricey probably because it folds up. There are cheaper options if you don’t need it to fold.
For younger children :
Next we got her a trampoline. I splurged a little because I *really* wanted the pink one. This is great for older kids too. I paid $30 more for mine, but it was worth it to me to have pink. The weight limit is 250 lbs.
One of our most helpful purchases was when we got her the Ekorre swing from Ikea. This thing is priceless to me because spinning and swinging in it helped her more than just about anything!
When we first got her sensory room set up, she was still not sleeping at night.She bunked in with my husband and me in our room. Several months after we set up her sensory room, as well as starting therapy, she started not only sleeping through the night but staying in her room all night. This was a conundrum though, because we didn’t have space for everything in her room. Enter the Kura loft bed. It give us extra space in her room as well as solving the problem of her not having a place to hide away from the world. Before she had her bed with her den, she used our pantry. The Kura is also from Ikea, so grab the Ekorre while you’re there. When you buy the Kura bed, you have to buy an Ikea brand mattress to fit it so that’s an extra $100 expense. That makes the bed and the mattress $309 total (almost half my sensory room’s budget) so if you don’t need that, you can do your room for well under $500!
When we got her bed, we also got her a pea pod because she had fallen in love with it at our local sensory gym and her OTs office. It has been well worth the $75, but is definitely a bonus not a necessity.
Under her bed we have a den full of random soft things that we had and a dog bed we got at Marshall’s for $25. It’s memory foam and it’s fabulous and at $25 it can’t be beat for a good crash pad.
We have several other storage shelves, some my husband built for her Little People, one set of the box shelves I got off craigslist a million years ago, and an Ikea Trofast storage system that doubles as stairs to get in her bed. All of them are great pieces for our needs but I didn’t count them towards total for the sensory room because not everyone needs that much storage for toys and books!
In the end, we spent two chunks of money over about an 8 month span on the bigger items for her sensory room. I have gotten her many smaller toys and things here and there, but the big stuff totals up to just under $600. Don’t be discouraged by that number if it’s out of reach. Do like I did, save, search for good buys on local swap pages, hit up cheap places like Ikea and Marshalls, and think outside of the box (hello dog bed!). The most important thing is to prioritize what YOUR child needs and work to fill those needs. I hope that this helped you see that a good sensory room can be achieved by any mom that puts her mind to it!
Hi, I’m Sarah, a 30 year old Navy wife and mom to three amazing kids. As a wife to a military man, I live a bit different of a life than most, add in homeschooling and Autism and it’s easy to see how crazy life can be. Overheard in My House is my little piece of the Internet where I talk about all the things you might hear in a day in my humble abode. In my spare time (haha, what’s that?) I enjoy geeky television and copious amounts of coffee.
Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo! Want to join in on next month’s Sensory Blog Hop? Click here!
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