Creating a College Dorm that is Sensory-Friendly and Accessible

Creating a Supportive and Comfortable Dorm Room for Students with Disabilities

Are you heading off to college soon or know someone who is? Transitioning to college life can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience, especially for students with physical disabilities or sensory processing disorders. Setting up a dorm room that supports individual needs is crucial for a successful college experience.

In our latest blog post, we spoke with experts in the field to provide you with valuable insights on creating a supportive and comfortable dorm room. Jordana Maisel, PhD, professor at the University at Buffalo, and Bianca Frost, MS, program director at Turning Pointe Autism Foundation, shared their expertise on how to make your dorm room accessible and sensory-friendly.

Before moving into your dorm, it’s essential to ask specific questions about room features, noise and sensory factors, support services, and transportation and accessibility. Understanding your needs and requirements will help you make informed decisions when evaluating student housing options.

When it comes to making your dorm room accessible, consider incorporating calendars and memory aids, furniture and fixtures with security features, nonslip rugs and mats, and voice-activated controls. These modifications can help create a safe and comfortable space for students with physical disabilities.

For students with sensory processing disorders, creating a sensory-friendly dorm room is key to promoting well-being and reducing stress. Think about sight modifications like blackout curtains and soft lighting solutions, sound and smell modifications such as noise-canceling headphones and aromatherapy, and touch modifications like sensory pillows and wall decor.

Additionally, we’ve highlighted organizations that provide support for students with disabilities, such as the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. These organizations offer resources and advocacy to empower individuals with disabilities.

Lastly, we’ve shared tips on how college students can support their peers with disabilities, including being kind and supportive, educating and advocating, participating in inclusive activities, providing assistance and resources, and offering emotional support. By creating inclusive spaces and fostering a supportive environment, campuses can become more welcoming for all students.

Remember, college is a time to celebrate uniqueness and individuality. By incorporating specific needs and preferences into your dorm room, you can create a space that reflects your personality and supports your well-being. Ask for input from those you are creating the space for and embrace the diversity that makes each person unique.

For more insights and expert advice on creating a supportive and comfortable dorm room for students with disabilities, check out our latest blog post. Let’s make college life a positive and inclusive experience for all students!


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