Councilmember Mark Treyger. Photo courtesy of Councilmember Mark Treyger’s office
Both features are designed to help special-needs kids develop sensory skills, and can also be used by other students to help burn off energy and take breaks.
A sensory path hallway is a series of guided movements for kids to follow, shown by markings and activities on the floor or walls. As students follow the path and complete the movements, they work off excess energy and develop their gross motor skills.
A sensory room is a therapeutic space with a variety of equipment that provides special-needs students with personalized sensory input. It helps both special needs children and general education students with calmness and helps the kids themselves so they can be better prepared for learning and interacting with others.
The new sensory path hallway on the fourth floor will lead to a classroom that will be converted into a sensory gym. The sensory gym room, which will have rubber flooring, will provide sensory stimulation and can be used throughout the school day for specialists, such as occupational therapists, and students.
Students with individual education plans, or IEPs, who have sensory delays will have occupational therapy sessions in the sensory gym, and other general education students can also use the room for breaks during the school day.
Currently, P.S. 216 has three occupational therapists and three speech therapists to help students with special needs, such as those living with autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy and other sensory processing issues.
Denise Brasco, special education teacher for grades K-2, and Alanna Javors, the school counselor, saw the increasing needs of the students at P.S. 216 and met with Council Member Treyger to request the funding for a sensory pathway.
Treyger, being a former educator, saw their devotion to the students and granted the school $200,000. P.S. 216 is looking forward to having the hallway lined with sensory decals, the gym room, sensory play equipment, a low-lying swing, occupational therapy tools, climbing tools, and sensory-based toys.
The NYC School Construction Authority is planning to start the project sometime in Summer 2021.
“As a former educator and now chair of the Council’s Education Committee, I’m proud to have secured funding for a brand new sensory path hallway and gym room to provide supportive services for our children with a wide range of special needs. Our schools must meet the needs of all of our children,” said Treyger.
“We are so grateful to Councilman Treyger for all that he has done and continues to do for our school community. I am honored to partner with him to provide this new addition to our school. A sensory hallway and gym will provide an exciting outlet for students to be creative as they develop fine motor skills, body awareness, social skills and improve coordination, and balance,” said Donna Neglia, principal, P.S. 216.
“I am thrilled to be a part of bringing this sensory project to the PS 216 community. With all of the challenges and uncertainty our students are facing during this unprecedented time, a sensory integration experience will undoubtedly help them transition back to the school environment,” said Denise Brasco, special education teacher, P.S. 216.
“This is an awesome start for our children living with autism! The sensory corridor and gym room will hopefully be a “path” to amazing new adventures and accomplishments,” said Veronica Droz, Coney Island Autism Angels.