BCP Collaborates to Create Knowledge

Authors: Amanda Portillo, Blind Children’s Specialist, Blind Children’s Program, Office of Independence Services, Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and Mary Ann Siller, Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI), Richardson ISD

Keywords: active learning, Blind Children’s Program, BCP, developmental needs, families, little room, sensory space, sensory integration

Abstract: The Blind Children’s Program and local independent school districts provided families an opportunity to learn about creating a sensory space.

Dallas area Blind Children’s Specialists collaborated with Richardson and Plano Independent School Districts to provide families with an opportunity to learn about sensory integration, active learning fundamentals, and how to develop their own sensory spaces.

Families learned how to best use a sensory space for the individual needs of their child. They learned how to create a “little room” tailored to fit their child’s physical and developmental needs. Parents were able to understand the use of this sensory space and how to help their child engage with their surroundings by making materials easily accessible and using engaging items that can easily be found around their homes. They also learned how long their child should be in a sensory room, when to switch out items, how to adapt the space as the child grows and learns, and most importantly, how to be patient and allow the process to take place.

Families were also able to make sensory trays and vests, along with sensory bottles for their children. They met other families and shared ideas and insight, while they actively made materials that will stimulate the learning process of their children.

Parents were given the opportunity to ask questions and sit in on an Active Learning presentation by Valerie Murtaugh, Active Learning Classroom Teacher who specializes in creating materials and sensory spaces for children. Every family that attended took home an active learning information sheet for future reference. Along with the items created, they also received a sensory bin filled with additional items to use as their children progress in their development and awareness. Families left feeling confident about using the tools provided as they continue to explore and learn how to develop innovative sensory activities with their children.

A variety of tools and materials are displayed on a table, including an ice cream scoop, a hair roller, denim fabric, beads, and a red glove.

Materials used to create sensory spaces during the BCP parent training.

A woman and young boy sit at a table and attach beads to a piece of gray fabric. Other sensory materials are on the table.

A BCP family works on creating engaging activities for their sensory room.

Two women sit at a table. The woman on the left wears a hijab and holds up fabric with sensory materials attached to it. The TVI on the right holds up metallic green paper.

The mother of a student with a visual impairment shows the sensory materials she created with her child’s TVI during the family training.

A woman and a young boy attach a piece of PVC pipe to the sensory room they are making.

The mother and brother of a young student with a visual impairment put together a sensory room.

A baby explores objects with his hands while lying on his back in a sensory room.

A young boy explores objects in a sensory room.

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