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'Families feel welcome in our space': Multi-sensory room supports the stressed and overstimulated in Cambridge


A new space has opened in Cambridge that helps children with sensory disorders deal with their anxiety and stress.

The multi-sensory room at the Idea Exchange Clemens Mill library has special lighting, soft seating, and soothing sounds creating a safe and calming atmosphere. 

“From autism [to] Down Syndrome, we really had these families feel welcome in our space and [they] knew that we designed it for them,” said Idea Exchange youth services manager Andrea Siemens. 

The room first opened as a pilot project last August.

In just four weeks, the program has had more than 100 bookings. 

At January’s Ontario Library Association Super Conference, the project took home the Ministers Award for Innovation, recognizing successful new approaches that demonstrate a positive impact in the community. 

Idea Exchange said the room offers families unique support that isn’t easy to come by. 

“Unless you’re in a full therapy system or the school system, there is no free space in Waterloo Region for families to come that need spaces like this.” 

Adam Jacob brings his daughter Ava to the library regularly. He said the 4-year-old enjoys using the play area, but the bustling public setting can often bring its own set of challenges. 

“They start to get a little high energy and then they start running around and it’s not really appropriate for the library,” Jacob explained.

He said the multi-sensory room helps Ava regulate her emotions, especially when she needs a quiet space. 

“It’s a closed room, so she’s separated from everywhere else,” Jacob said. “It’s nice and quiet, you have calming music and the lights, she’s big with the lights.” 

In January, Idea Exchange made the pilot project a permanent space at the Clemens Mill location. The group also plans to expand the program to its four other locations across the region. 

Anyone looking to book the room for one hour, at no cost, can call Idea Exchange at (519) 740-6294. 

Online bookings will also be made available in the future. Top Stories

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