A Darlington family are just one of many set to benefit from an innovative new sensory room installed at an Aycliffe school.

Becki Harper, 35, says her 13-year-old son Aaron is ‘happier and healthier’ since being able to use the £20,000 facility in the North East Centre for Autism’s Aycliffe School.

The room, originally funded by Postcode Community Trust, a grant-giving charity, funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, donating £9177 was then improved further by Experia who upgraded the software making the room one of the most innovative and advanced of its kind in the North-east.

School Physiotherapist Kevin Durkin has seen the project through from inception and is thrilled with the results. He said:

It’s a brilliant addition to our school and what makes all the work more robust is that it’s not just a room with some nice lights and music, it can be tailored to the needs of each child or group using it.

Fitting in with the ethos of the North east Autism Society which creates bespoke curriculums and person-centred care packages for the children, young people and adults in its schools, college, training centre, residential care or short breaks services, the room is now up and active and staff are in the process of being trained to use it to its maximum potential.

Full-time mum Becki said:

Aaron has struggled throughout his life to manage his moods and can quite easily feel very overwhelmed. The sensory room is great because he can participate in what he wants to see and hear while he’s in there and it really helps him come down from a place where his emotions are no longer controllable. He’s definitely happier and healthier when he’s in there.

Both Kevin and Becki want to show their appreciation for those who funded the project.

She said: “I’m continually overwhelmed when I hear that people have donated something that will help my child. So yes, I’m very grateful indeed. Thank you.”


Aaron enjoying the sensory session

Kevin added: “When the project began it was going to be a basic sensory room – like the one we had – but with new equipment and a better environment for the children using it. However, along the way when we turned to Experia for help in purchasing the correct equipment the project became something very special indeed.”

It was during a visit to the site by Experia that the sensory-equipment specialists decided to go over and above.

Gareth Jones, Director of Experia said:

NEAS is a fantastic, forward-thinking charity with some very experienced members of staff. We’re really pleased that the extension to the project has gone down so well as we see this relationship with them as a long-term partnership. This collaboration will not only benefit their users at Newton Aycliffe School, but by using their expertise we can continue to create the most innovative products to help change the lives of all our end users around the world.