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Introducing the cutting-edge sensory space in our Clinical Research Facility!

Three pictures, first one is of a boy playing with a projector on a mat, second photo shows a boy smiling with a dark light on his face and the third one shows a boy playing with a projection mat.
25 January 2024

Unveiling the newest addition to our Clinical Research Facility (CRF) – a cutting edge sensory room! Step inside an immersive space designed to calm, relax and engage the children and young people visiting us to take part in research studies.

Sensory rooms create a safe and comfortable environment for young people using different equipment, lights, music, and colours, and we’re excited – thanks to the Friends of Sheffield Children’s – to have a Sense Micro floor projection mat which allows pictures, sounds, interactive games and more! There’s also a hurricane tube with colours, movement and lighta light and music projector which casts the night sky across the room; and a sensory box full of items and activities for all five senses. 

Laura Johnson, Research Officer and Learning Disability and Autism Ambassador, said: “We’re hoping this sensory room will transform the experience of our patients, especially for those who are autistic or have additional needs. By creating this room we can offer a space that gives a child a relaxed, safe break from their appointment, or we can even carry out medical tests in the room, it’s completely down to the individual child and what works best for them.”

When a child or young person comes to the CRF to take part in research the family are first asked, with support, to fill out a health passport. This captures an individuals likes and dislikes, things which they might find hard, their sensory needs, and more. This information helps the team design their appointment around those needs (which is where the sensory room comes in) to make sure the patients experience is the best it can be.

Laura added: “We want to make sure that children from a young age have a positive view of healthcare, as well as making sure that care and taking part in a research study is accessible to everyone.”

We spent time with ten-year-old Rafi exploring lights, sounds, interactive games and more in the sensory room and it was certainly a hit! Rafi said: “It’s so cool, and I think it’s going to be really helpful for all children. It was so much fun!”

Watch this space! The Research department are only just getting started on making the facility even more accessible. Makaton and widgit signs to help with communication are in the pipeline, as well as easy read documents to prepare patients before their appointments.

Research is for everyone, and if you’d like to find out more about taking part in one of our studies, please visit our Research page. 

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