Grace and Aiden sit next to each other on an oversized bean bag in the Sensory Room

Support Services for Adults (SSA) is a day habilitation program that provides outcome-based services for adults with disabilities and focuses on their individual needs and goals. Participants in the program have an opportunity to explore interests and develop skills in volunteerism, social activities, and community involvement.

Community Living, Inc. offers the SSA program at five different centers in the St. Charles County area. Every SSA center is committed to providing innovative services and opportunities for the participants, but the Jack Boschert Center was the first location to get a unique resource that set them apart. They were the first center to have a Sensory Room created.

The SSA team witnessed the positive impact the room had on the Boschert Center and set out with a goal to build Sensory Rooms in all the centers. Thanks to generous funds received from this year’s Legacy Ball and “Special Ask”, they can make it happen. The Legacy Ball raised nearly $25,000 to create Sensory Rooms at all the centers by the end of June 2023.

If you are not familiar with a Sensory Room, it is a customized space designed to help users focus on and engage with their senses. The room is often used throughout the day by individuals who need a break from their regular activities or who are feeling overwhelmed. Participants Aiden and Dylan are good friends in the program, and they agree that their favorite part of the room is relaxing on the bean bag chairs. Aiden added that the space is “really good for chillin’ out.” The room allows individuals to step away, have alone time, and even deescalate crisis situations. It gives them privacy and a safe space to regulate in their own way.

The sensory room in the Boschert Center is equipped with oversized bean bags, calming sounds, and relaxing lights. There are even a handful of sensory items that participants can interact with, like balls and fiber optic, bendable lights. Grace, who is also a participant, goes into the Sensory Room at the end of the day to kick back after her work tasks are wrapped up. Grace said the room makes her feel happy. “I like playing with the balls and playing on my phone.”

When the room isn’t occupied as a getaway space, it is also utilized for different types of therapy that are essential for participants’ growth and development. Boschert Center Manager Annie Kreitler said it can be very helpful to have additional space for therapy sessions. SSA offers physical therapy, speech therapy, behavioral therapy, and occupational therapy. “Some of the participants use wheelchairs, and the Sensory Room is used as a safe space for them to take a break from their chair and stretch out.”

The benefits of the sensory room are numerous and can have a significant impact on the lives of those who utilize it. SSA Director Jenn Braden said, “the success and impact of the Sensory Room has not gone unnoticed.” The feedback from staff and families has been overwhelmingly positive. “The participants have better days because they are able to regulate.”

“The participants have better days because they are able to regulate.”

A special thank you to all of the donors that are bringing these Sensory Rooms to life!