Leeds Museum sensory room has been a great success this Halloween

Children's toys and different objects are spread around the floor of the sensory roomThe sensory room exhibition takes place on holidays

The pop up sensory exhibition for children with additional needs at the Leeds City Museum has been very successful.

The free one-hour session consisted of a room with music, a bubble tube, dark tents and tactile toys.

“It’s a quiet space for them to relax, for them to just chill out and get used to the bonding before they go and have a look around,” said the event coordinator, Emma McBeth.

Children under five years old can participate, and their parents and carers can also join.

The exhibition happens every holiday, always on Thursdays, and it gets fully booked weeks in advance. 

Sensory room experience at the Leeds City Museum

Emma said: “We just don’t want anybody dropping in, it’s for people with special needs that need sensory stimulation” 

The number of children with special needs in England has increased for a third consecutive year, according to the Department for Education.

It rose from 1,276,215 in January 2018 to 1,318,300 in January 2019, an increase from 14.6% to 14.9%.

Mother of two attended the event to get “some ideas for my own son because I wanted to set out some sensor things for him because he is on the autism spectrum”.

The initial funding for the project was a £2,000 donation from a charity, but it currently relies on small sums of money from the museums budget. 

Green plastic jellyfish swim in a mall aquarium
Jacon Lyon Plastic fluorescent jellyfish are used in the sensory room to stimulate the children’s senses

The lack of staff available makes increasing the number of tickets impossible. 

Parents have repeatedly asked the museum to create an adult session, but the museum has denied their proposal due to limited space.

Due to the clash between students and staff Christmas holidays, the next exhibition will be in the February half-term.

About the Author

Jabob Lyon and Alvaro Casas
Year 2 BA Journalism students at Leeds Beckett University

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