Why Rowan’s Room
This beautiful face you see to the left is my daughter Rowan. She is my lifeblood, my world, my everything. Rowan was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 2, but it was obvious from birth that something was unique with Rowan. Rowan presents as classically autistic with lots of movement (stimming) and extreme sensory defensiveness (SPD). She is non-verbal (she has words but her use of functional language is quite limited) and also lacks awareness of danger. Rowan is exceedingly bright, happy, social and funny!
For as long as my husband and I remember outings have involved a lot of planning and are extremely stressful. We use visuals, distractive devices, sensory equipment (noise cancelling headphones, weighted blankets and sensory vests), portable ‘Rowan proofing devices’, and anything else that helps make the space compatible for Rowan’s needs. Essentially we turn every space into Rowan’s room to allow her to safely function in the environment with as little stress as possible. Does this sound over the top? Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe it is just right for Rowan.
With the profound nature of her sensory defensiveness, it was obvious to us that a traditional school setting may not be equipped to fully accommodate her special needs. The last thing we would want is for her to spend her school day just coping and surviving. Although our ultimate goal is for Rowan to successfully navigate an inclusive school setting and thrive, we know that she does not have the coping and self-regulation skills to do so at this at this point. We know there are other families facing similar challenges, so I decided to take on the challenge of creating a learning and supportive environment that would adapt to each child’s needs while they learn age and developmentally appropriate life and social skills.
A ‘Rowan’s Room’ for every child…