Eagle scout reinvigorates SPED sensory room

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Natasha Tchir, Reporter
@ntchircourant

Over the summer, senior Camden Nelson redesigned the special education sensory room located on the first floor of NCHS to earn his Eagle Scout Award. Hoping to make a positive impact on the students who use the room, Camden was guided by special education teacher Katelyn Paige.

Senior Camden Nelson looks at the sensory wall that he created over the summer as part of his project. Photo by Allie Neugeboren

Camden chose the sensory room, specifically due to the positive influence it could have on his brother. “I have an older brother with autism who is a student in the special education program at NCHS and many aspects of the sensory room were inspired by my interactions with him,” he said.

Controlling all aspects of this project as a requirement for his Eagle Scout Award, Camden spent 50 hours with volunteers building and raising funds. “The budget was the amount that was able to be raised through fundraising which was $1,500,” he said.

Camden explained the focal point of the restoration was the sensory board. “This sensory board has hands-on items that cater to the sensory needs of the students,” he said. “The sensory board was built from supplies purchased at home depot, including beads, feathers, spinning wheels, balls, books, and musical instruments.”

In addition to the sensory board, Camden also drafted a wall full of photographs of the students who use the sensory room. “This is my favorite aspect of the room because it makes it personal to the students.  Many of the students are non-verbal which makes them relate and love the pictures,” he said.

Excited by the renovation, teachers and students have praised Camden. “I know that the students already have really enjoyed the room and it is expected for that to be the same in the future,” he said. “Although it isn’t the largest room, it is a great quiet space for one to two people when a student may want some alone time.”

Student views the picture wall that was added as part of the renovation. Photo by Camden Nelson

Ms. Paige also finds the picture wall to be one of her favorite features. “It captures these guys in their best light, when they are happy, and doing things that they like to do and they like to look at pictures,” she said.

Ms. Paige emphasizes how much Camden’s work has changed the whole experience of the room. “Before it was just kind of dark and dingy, the couches we had in there were old, the rugs were dirty, so it was nice that they were able to raise funds and make these spaces more homey for the kids,” she said. “They love to look at the pictures of themselves and they’ll go in there and play with the fidget toys.”

Ms. Paige also explains the wide use of the new room, “I just think it’s been great that Cam did this not only for his brother but for all the students in this room because the students that I work with use it, but then there are also other kids who come in here who I don’t directly work with, but they are able to access these rooms as they need to so I think it’s been great for everybody.”

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