SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS GET BOOST
WAYLAND – When special needs students in Wayland-Cohocton Central Schools return to school in the fall, they will have a new tool to help them succeed in the classroom.
The district is installing a “multi-sensory environment” room, which will assist children with special needs through sensory relaxation.
Children with autism spectrum disorder see the MSE as a safe environment to interact with their surroundings. For children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the MSE acts as a tool to help harness concentration and focus. The MSE can also provide an outlet to center their emotions and learn new useful coping strategies for children with emotional and behavioral disorders.
Jackie Hughes, project manager, has a child with autism and is a teacher.
“There needs to be more resources for these kids,” Huges said. “This is a great thing.”
The room was designed by Linda Messbauer, one of the founders of the American Association of Multi-Sensory Environments and the developer of the first MSE in the United States in 1992.
Equipment for the MSE room was purchased, with no cost to taxpayers, and installed in June. Hughes hopes the WCCS MSE, which will be the first multi-sensory environment in a New York State public school, will spark interest from other schools.
A fundraising goal was set for $25,000 to help fund the MSE, but thanks to the generosity of the community and local businesses, the organizing team was able to raise more than their goal. The Gunlocke Company matched the school $12,500.
The organizing team included Jackie Hughes, Robert Hughes, Jennifer Sullivan, Jim Sullivan, Stan Konopoko, Mike Wetherbee, Cora Saxton and Michelle Degrass.
The WCCS Board of Education approved the project last year.
Messbauer, who is an international speaker and trainer for the MSE, will train the Wayland-Chohocton staff this summer.
The project is hoped to be completed by September; a ribbon-cutting ceremony has been planned for Sept. 12.
Fundraising efforts are continuing for training and room maintenance.
To make a donation, mail a check to the Wayland-Chohocton Central School Business Office, 2350 Route 63N, Wayland, NY 14572. Checks should be made out to Wayland-Cohocton Sensory Room.