Middle school students create ‘special’ room for children with special needs

Hahira Middle Sensory Room

HAHIRA, GA (WALB) - Two students in South Georgia are taking action in their community and representing the area as national champions for creating a really innovative construction project.

It’s a sensory room for children with special needs.

Co-creators, Molly and Maggie Davis, of Hahira, were recognized by the Georgia State School Superintendent for winning first place in the Construction Challenge for the 2018 Technology Student Association (TSA) conference.

“We built it for the special education students at our school. Our students have autism and can be nonverbal, so when they get distressed or uncomfortable in the situation they can often have different reactions that can lead to distractions in the classroom. So we decided to create a solution to this problem," explained Molly.

The creating the room when they were just in middle school.

The assignment was for the students to find a solution to a community problem. So, Molly and Maggie did just that.

“We grew up around our friend and she has down syndrome. She would sometimes get overwhelmed and we just didn’t want special needs kids in our school to feel that way, so we decided to make the sensory room," said Maggie.

They started a GoFundMe and created the room inside of Hahira Middle School.

“We had an active portion of our sensory room where they can take bottles and shake them, and we have our activity board where they can press buttons” said Molly.

Like a fidget spinner, or an ADHD cube, the room is supposed to create an outlet for stress, provide sensory stimulation or even soothe symptoms of stress or anxiety.

“They even come in our room and can get overstimulated when you have 25 to 30 kids in the classroom and a lot going on, and sometimes need a break and somewhere to go," said TSA Adviser Greg Terry.

Terry said that the duo should be very proud.

“It felt really good to see it work and they were coming here when they got stressed out and they would just mess around with the activity board or just calm down with the pillow. And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, wow.' We actually did something that helps the school and stuff,” said Maggie.

But Maggie said the two worked on the project together over a year ago and it wasn’t always easy.

“It was very stressful, but we still won first in both,” Maggie said.

Terry said that even though Molly has moved on to high school, Maggie and the middle school students plan to continue creating to advance the project and win first place again.

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