The Sensory Xperience

Units 1-3 Dobbin Centre, 6 Dobbin Lane, Armagh, Armagh, BT61 7QP

Sector

Music , Restaurant , Health & Medical Centre , Children’s Events , Food & Drink , Learning Experiences , Creative Industries

Location

Armagh City

The Sensory Xperience in Armagh was born from a simple idea on a Saturday morning in mid-October 2022. What started as a small concept quickly evolved into a groundbreaking 7-month project. This article explores the journey of a family of five who transformed their backyard into a remarkable space for individuals with special educational needs (SEN) and their families.

Building a dream:

Initially, the plan was to construct a modest facility in their garden, housing a multi-sensory room. However, as ideas flowed and discussions deepened, the project expanded, becoming more diverse and innovative. The business is run and inspired by family of five, Colleen, Ciaran, their 20-year-old daughter studying a Law Degree, and their two sons, both diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Global Processing Delay, Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The need for support:
Throughout the diagnosis process, the family realised the lack of sufficient support and resources available to children with additional needs and their parents. Even with a deeper understanding of their youngest son’s journey, they encountered similar challenges. Simple activities like family outings, restaurant visits, or even a trip to the local shop required extra consideration and planning. Education, in particular, proved to be an immense hurdle.

Motivated by their personal experiences, the family embarked on a mission to fill the gap in resources and support for individuals with SEN. The Sensory Xperience was designed to be a haven where families could find solace and assistance in navigating daily life. The project expanded beyond a multi-sensory room, incorporating various innovative features to cater to diverse needs.

Inclusive facilities:

The Sensory Xperience offers state-of-the-art sensory rooms, equipped with interactive lighting, sound systems, and tactile elements. These rooms provide a safe and stimulating environment for individuals to explore and express themselves. Additionally, the facility boasts inclusive play areas, therapy rooms, and educational spaces tailored to accommodate different learning styles.

Recognizing the importance of parental support, The Sensory Xperience offers a range of resources for families. Workshops, support groups, and counseling services are available to help parents navigate the challenges they face daily. The aim is to foster a sense of community and empower families to advocate for their children’s needs.

Looking ahead, The Sensory Xperience aims to expand its reach and impact. The family behind the project is actively collaborating with local schools and organisations to provide educational programs and workshops. They also have plans to develop a mobile unit that can bring the sensory experience to communities that may not have easy access to the facility. It’s truly inspiring to see how this project has grown and continues to make a difference in the lives of individuals with special educational needs and their families.

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