FAB Sensory Calming Area Strategy Improves Self-Control

FAB Sensory Quiet Area Log
The FAB sensory calming area strategy improves self-control in individuals with behavioral, sensory, and developmental challenges. The FAB sensory calming area strategy integrates best practice sensory processing intervention and behavior modification theory by encouraging clients to use a designated area to modulate their arousal to a calm alert state when they begin experiencing stress related to environmental and body triggers. The FAB sensory calming area strategy encourages self-control and reduces the need for punishment or physical restraint.

Sensory calming areas are becoming increasingly popular and may be referred to as peace corners, quiet areas, coping areas, sensory rooms or safe spaces. Based on the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Safety Tool, the FAB sensory calming area strategy uses the concepts of environmental and body triggers as well as coping strategies including the sensory calming area. The sensory calming areas can be adapted for use in school, home, clinic, and psychiatric hospital settings. Therapists can individualize each sensory calming area to the specific needs of their clients. Sensory calming areas vary from a designated seat in the back of a regular classroom where children are not to be disturbed, a pup tent in a child’s home, or a specially equipped sensory room in a clinic or hospital. It is important to clearly distinguish sensory calming areas from spaces used for punishment, seclusion, or restraint.

I developed the FAB Sensory Calming Area Log to assess the effectiveness of the sensory quiet area in helping clients behave more appropriately. It objectively tracks the degree to which the room helps each individual calm down, frequency and duration of quiet area use, and whether the client or a staff member suggests the need for its use. In schools space is often extremely limited, and the use of break areas may be discouraged for fear they will be use to avoid school activities. The Log tracks the effectiveness of the FAB sensory calming area strategy, and specifies the environmental adaptations and activities that best help calm each individual. In schools I have two folders in the sensory calming area, one with blank logs and the other for completed logs. The staff member who accompanies the client to the sensory calming area fills out the log, and the staff member who completes the most forms each month can be awarded a gift certificate for coffee by the occupational therapist.

I developed the FAB sensory calming area strategy to assure goal directed individualization and safe use of sensory calming areas. A crucial component for success is supervision of the sensory calming area by an occupational therapist in consultation with parents, teachers/instructors, as well as physical, speech, and mental health therapists. Further, use of the FAB Sensory Calming Area Log facilitates this process, and allows modifications in use to be made as needed. Supervision is important to enable the sensory calming area to safely achieve specific functional goals to improve the children’s lives. Coordination among parents and staff sometimes result in offering the sensory calming area proactively following environmental triggers, such as difficult class lessons or trauma processing by mental health clinicians. I hope that you will find use of the FAB sensory calming area and the FAB Sensory Calming Area Log helpful.

References
Ayres, A. J. (2005). Sensory integration and the child: 25th Anniversary Edition. Los
Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.
Dunn, W. (2007). Supporting children to participate successfully in everyday life by using sensory processing knowledge. Infants & Young Children, 20(2), 84-101.
Mass. Dept. of Mental Health Safety Tool. (2006). MacLachlan, J. & Stromberg, N. Safety Tools.

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2 thoughts on “FAB Sensory Calming Area Strategy Improves Self-Control

  1. I’m sure that you have this info somewhere – I just don’t know how to search your material well enough to find the categories used in your Senory Calming Area Log. I’m interested in what types of information is logged? I’m also interested in what the children would record if they completed the log. Has child self report been used as a measure? Have there been comparisons to determine the degree of correlation between the two perspectives? than you

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    • Sorry, I’m still learning to blog and am a little unclear, but the FAB Sensory Calming Area Strategy uses the FAB Sensory Quiet Area Log. Click on the FAB Sensory Quiet Area Log heading in red, then click again on that heading once it initially opens, and you will open the Log. The FAB Sensory Quiet Area Log allows the teacher and child to rate the child’s aggression level before and after Calming Area use, and to check off the strategies used. I use the ratings change before and after Sensory Calming Area use to judge efficacy, and track the specific calming techniques that are most useful for each individual. I hope this is clearer.

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