Miami Public Schools respond to inquiries about sensory space

Miami Public Schools Respond To Inquiries About Sensory Space
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MIAMI, Okla. – KOAM reaches out to the Miami Public Schools about a sensory space, as various opinions cause discussion on social media.

After KOAM saw a social media post, we reached out to the school district about the room in this photo. A Miami resident shared the photo above. When KOAM asked the school district if the photo was of its sensory room, the Superintendent sent the following,

“I can confirm that the image that is circulating on social media looks like a room we have at Washington Elementary.” – Superintendent of Schools Nick Highsmith

Highsmith also released the following information about its sensory room. They emailed it to KOAM and shared it on social media.

“Good afternoon,

Miami Public Schools currently has calming and sensory spaces throughout the district. Students have the option with parent permission to utilize sensory spaces if they require tactile stimulation to de-escalate. They also have the option to utilize calming spaces with parent permission if they require a zero stimulation environment. Sensory spaces have tactile materials such as sand bins, physical movement stations, swings, and many other items that support tactile stimulation. Calming spaces are locations that do not have items that may overstimulate a student. They have a soft pillow mat for students who may want to lie down and soft padding on the walls for safety in the event of self-harming. These rooms have been updated with the use of grant funding provided by the Evolution Foundation and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. None of the spaces across the district have locking doors. All areas are constantly and consistently monitored to assure student safety.

Before students are permitted to use calming and sensory spaces parents participate in the development of behavior plans that include specific guidelines for the spaces. The development of behavior plans includes long-term student observations conducted by trained professionals to determine how and why a student may become escalated and exhibit behaviors that would require the support of an extensive plan. Mental health counselors, psychologists, general education teachers, special education teachers, school administrators, and parents develop the plans together. If a team member is not in agreement with steps in the plan, the team continues to make revisions until it meets the needs of the individual student. Parents sign documentation and are provided with copies of behavior plans. Every time a student requires the use of a calming space the parent is notified. Miami Public Schools works diligently to collaborate with community stakeholders to provide a safe and healthy learning environment.

Sincerely,

Nick Highsmith”

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