Check Out This DIY Sensory Room At Home

A DIY 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.  Each child has different needs so not every sensory room will match just like every autistic child is different. Regardless of needs, you can do a sensory room in your home on a budget.

Most, but not all, autistic children have the co-occuring condition of  Sensory Processing Disorder. Making the connection of  your child’s sensory needs and autism will give you a clearer picture of what his sensory diet should encompass.

A sensory diet is just a plan to meet the child’s sensory needs on a continuous basis which allows him to function better in our world. One way to meet those needs is with a sensory room. You’re probably like me and when you saw the price of things that an OT suggested,  it made you  laugh  then cry because wow… that stuff is expensive!

We are a family of 4 that has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars caring for Logan. Building a therapy room had to be budget friendly or else it just wasn’t going to happen. 

This room is for a child who is a sensory seeker as well as an  avoider. There has to be super seeking opportunities in addition to  a safe space to avoid the world when he needs it. Obviously, it’s geared towards a younger child, but many of the things in this room can and do work for older kids who have sensory needs. Keep the sensory room safe for their physical limitations but also geared to their developmental age.

The room isn’t huge, so we had to maximize space while also making sure he had everything we needed. After researching our particular needs (vestibular and proprioceptive dysfunction) we started with a slide, a swing, and a trampoline. Yes, all in this one room!

The slide is a Step 2 Play and Fold Slide.  For an older child, I would leave out the slide for obvious reasons.

It’s pricey probably because it folds up. There are cheaper options if you don’t need it to fold. Since space is at a premium in this room, folding up is a great trait. Look on a local swap page to get one or try Craigslist, Groupon or Living Social to perhaps find a deal.

Next up is the trampoline. This is  great for older kids too.  The weight limit is 250 lbs. 

One of our most helpful purchases was when we got the Ekorre swing from Ikea. Spinning and swinging can be so calming for our kids. Be sure to hang it into one of the ceiling studs or it will not be sturdy enough to hold your child while moving. Don’t ask how I know.

One of the benefits of a successful sensory diet will be improved sleep.  When the body’s sensory needs are met, it can settle down easier. The benefit to having their sensory needs as part of their bedroom is that they can meet those needs before sleeping or upon waking without assistance from you.

Enter the Kura loft bed. It gives extra space in the room as well as  solving  the problem of  having a place to hide away from the world. The bed and mattress make up most of the budget so if you don’t need that, you can do your room for well under $500!

A pea pod is an excellent way to get the prorioceptive input they crave so often. Got a child who likes loads of hugs? Super strong hugs? This item will diminish that need.  It has been well worth the $75 for us. Depending on your child’s needs, it can be a necessity or not.

Under the bed is the crash pad area. This is a great addition for sensory seekers. You can use simple dog bed from Marshall’s for $25. It’s memory foam and it’s fabulous and at $25 it can’t be beat for a  crash pad.

You can get many smaller toys and other 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!