Discovery Academy

Project Background

Discovery Academy is a brand-new learning provision for autistic students aged between 7 and 16 in Sheffield.

The school’s mission is to develop its students into dreamers, believers, and achievers – and part of that strategy was to create inclusive learning environments where students can do just that.

To help turn their dream into a reality, Discovery Academy got in touch with our Sensory Team, asking if we’d be available to collaborate on their big project. And, of course, we said yes!

Over the next year, we worked closely with the school to advise, design, and install four new sensory spaces tailored for their autistic school community, ready for their big September 2022 opening.

Sensory Room Design Brief

  • Inclusive learning spaces that support all students across the autism spectrum
  • Inspire a school of dreamers, believers, and achievers
  • Build areas where students learn soft skills of kindness, care and self-belief

 

Discovery Academy Sensory Integration Room

Sensory Integration Room

Designed to connect minds to bodies, the Sensory Integration Room is a physical space where students can learn more about their minds and bodies in a safe, supportive and inclusive environment.

Calming blue walls cushioned with soft safety padding create a thought-out environment for therapeutic sensory sessions. A large free-standing beam frames the room offering students a place to swing, rock, sway and therapeutically develop their vestibular, balance, motor and proprioceptive senses.

Other sensory integration items in the room include a body roller (for deep-pressure activities) and a SenSit chair (for calming anxiety and meltdowns).

Room Includes: Custom Free Standing Beam Frame, SenSit Chair and Stool, Body Roller, Floor and Wall Padding.

 

Discovery Academy Soft Play Room

Soft Play Room

Bright, colourful and ready for active adventures and social play. Discovery Academy’s Soft Play Room is an ideal space for students to break out of formal classrooms and release pent-up energy.

Students can develop their balance skills by rocking back and forth on top of the colourful Rocker Roller, stimulate their proprioceptive senses swimming through a sea of ball pool balls, or have a contemplative moment whilst they explore their visual senses in the bubble mirror.

Room Includes: Bespoke Ball Pool and Soft Play Area, Rocker Roller, Convex Bubble Mirror, Vibrating Bumpers, and Soft Play Shape Matching Set.

 

Discovery Academy Sensory Dark Room

Sensory Dark Room

Built around the school’s ethos of believers, dreamers and achievers, Discovery’s Dark Room glows with sensory magic.

UV lights surround the room, illuminating all its elements in a warm sensory glow. From the patterned UV carpet, interactive bubble tube, and twinkling fibre optic lights, it’s a great place for students to escape the classroom, find calm and focus on their senses.

Room Includes: Interactive Bubble Tube, Fibre Optics, Solar Projector, Sound & Light Panel, Infinity Tunnel, Tactile Panels, Chair Beanbag, UV Carpet, Line Lite Mirror, Illuminated Round Corner Pool, Safety Padding.

 

Discovery Academy De-Escalation Room

De-Escalation Room

De-Escalation Rooms are practical and functional. They’re designed as a safe space for students to release any built-up emotions, energy and anxiety in a controlled manner.

Discovery’s calming room features royal blue floor and wall padding, framing a large window that allows lots of natural light into the space, connecting students’ senses to nature.

Room Includes: Safety Floor and Wall Padding

Blossom View Care

Blossom View Care is a popular respite home in Sheffield for adults with physical, mental, and sensory disabilities. Offering visitors a space to relax, recuperate and feel more like themselves. After acquiring a large office space, our design and installation team were contacted by Blossom View to help them transform the space into a specialist sensory day centre.

Senseabilities Day Centre needed to be flexible, exciting, suitable for collaborative use, and effectively support users’ physical and mental wellbeing.

More Rehab

More Rehab is a specialist rehabilitation centre based in Sheffield providing physiotherapy, neurological rehab, and paediatric therapy for clients across the Yorkshire and Humber area.

Anna Wilkinson (More Rehab’s Managing Director) got in touch with our sensory team as she was looking to create a brand new Sensory Integration Room. Her team could use the space to provide important Sensory Integration and Occupational Therapies to nurture clients’ physical and mental development.

As always, our team of sensory experts were thrilled to start working with Anna to create a sensory area perfect for her clients and her business.

Designing More Rehab’s Sensory Integration Space

We worked closely with More Rehab’s team of Occupational Therapists to make sure the room design matched the needs of their wide array of clients.

Sensory Integration Rooms are used by lots of people with different needs and abilities, so coming up with an inclusive design that will support everyone was an important job.

Our design reflected the need for flexibility. One corner features a large O-Frame & Platform Swing for vestibular development and therapy, whilst another corner is transformed into a therapeutic sensory space. The centre of the room has been designed to be used transitionally to suit each individual therapy session.

Oakwood SILC

Oakwood SILC is a part of the East Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre in Leeds that support children between the ages of 3 and 19 with complex learning difficulties. The school contacted us as they wished to refurbish and create a selection of inclusive sensory spaces to support and enrich the school’s students and their learning journeys.

Waves Daycare Centre

Rhino UK provided a unique design to create sensory bays for multiple group use and make best use of the mill.

Cascade Academy Trust Schools

Following a successful application process, Cascade Academy Trust Schools were awarded funds from Sheffield County Council to create specialist SEND wings within three of their mainstream primary schools – Beck, Whiteways and Hucklow. Allowing them to provide a more inclusive learning environment for their students with special educational needs.

It was a collaborative process from the very start.

Our sensory team joined forces with the Academy to draw up designs that would illustrate how the SEND spaces would operate, ready for submission to the council for approval.

The spaces needed to work for every student. With areas that could be used for relaxation, sensory stimulation, and alternative spaces to learn.

The approval process was swift, and soon enough, our installation team were packing up their tools, ready to develop the new areas across the summer holiday, ready for a spectacular September opening.