When a child is on the autism spectrum, it is easy for them to become overwhelmed by their surroundings.
Staff at Copperas Cove ISD created sensory-friendly classrooms in every elementary school. Now they are taking things a step further.
The sensory classroom at Clements/Parsons Elementary in Copperas Cove will soon extend out into the hallways. The Clements/Parsons Maker Club is doing the heavy lifting, with help from some students with a unique perspective.
When the lights are too bright and the noise is too loud for some kids Ms. Adrianna Fox's room is their safe haven.
Fox is a Paraprofessional and Art Teacher at Clements/Parsons Elementary School.
"I love that we’re able to have the space and have them involved in stuff like this because of the fact that they need to be included in everything they really truly are capable of so many things," Fox said.
Alex Garza is one of those kids to find comfort in Fox's classroom. Garza is now helping develop sensory-friendly hallways to help kids like him.
"We’re going to have a hopping pass and a walking path. We have a zigzag that looks like a balance beam that we’re going to do," Fox said.
Garza is doing it all, with his best friend Kelsey.
"It makes me feel like I’m doing it for him sometimes so that they feel welcome and they’re not alone," said Kelsey.
Alex's mom, Briana Garza said Kelsey and Alex have been friends for years, but to see others embrace and welcome him is a dream come true.
"It feels so good to know that my little one Is included and loved. I don't know how to express it more, how much he loves it, and how much he feels loved. and that all I've ever wanted was for him to feel loved," said Briana.
Briana said Alex's involvement in the Maker Club and the environment at Clements/Parsons has made all the difference. She believes these hallways will help students on and off the spectrum.
Briana said, "He is coming out of his shell, and he is showing emotion and showing how he is included. I know it will benefit all these babies especially in SPED."
Alex and the Maker Club are still working out the details but hope to have the hallways installed on their campus by February 2022.
These hallways will have interactive sensory learning activities right along the walls, so kids can blow off some steam all while developing their motor skills.