Sensory Hallways are pathways lined with colorful decals that allow students to skip, jump and even play a little hopscotch as they move throughout the school. Children who follow the path might be jumping at certain intervals, taking slow steps in other spots, hopping from lily pad to lily pad, or placing their hands on handprints on the wall and pushing as hard as they can.
The Sensory Path – the company who installed PS 78’s Sensory Pathways – describes their product as a brain break for students to refocus. When a child with a sensory processing disorder such as Autism is in a general education classroom, their brain is trying to process several different things at once. From sitting up in the chair, the climate in the room, the other children next to them, the smells, the teacher talking, another child talking, the movements in the room, everything we usually can tune out, they are tuning into. Kids with sensory processing disorders can't just simply turn off the radio of their brain. They need a brain break. Their neurological pathways have essentially jammed, and must be cleared. By taking the sensory overloaded kid to our Sensory Path, they will complete a series of movements as they move through the path that are designed to release the blocked paths and allow the body and brain to refocus.
The hallways are beneficial not only to those students who require sensory input, but for the entire student body – and even the staff.
“We want our students to get active and be engaged, which is why I am excited to see today’s ribbon cuttings at PS 78 for their new auditorium and especially their sensory pathways. These pathways will allow children to burn energy and return to the classroom refocused and ready to learn. We are big advocates of the importance and benefits of exercise, so I am looking forward to seeing the success of these hallways on the PS 78 community,” said Borough President Oddo.
The auditorium was funded in two phases: $400,000 for first phase, which included new flooring, painting, and curtains for the stage and the windows, and $650,000 for phase two, which included new seats, side walls and stage floor. Phase two is still underway, with the side walls and stage floor still to be completed. The sensory pathway was funded for $2,500. PS 78 is the first school Borough President Oddo has allocated funding for sensory pathways.