Former HCS Student Builds Sensory Wall for Special Needs Students

As part of her Gold Award Project for the Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama, Deyanara Holt built a sensory wall for the benefit of special needs students at Whitesburg Elementary.  The wall contains a variety of fabrics, objects, and materials which serve as tactile devices for students to focus their attention and energy on when they might otherwise become overwhelmed.

“I really needed a Gold Award Project for Girl Scouts,” says Deyanara, “I had basically given up on it because I had been really busy and every idea I had just kind of fell flat.”  She says it wasn’t until her troop leader came to her with the idea for the sensory wall that things really took off.  All in all, it took her about three months to finish the wall from its initial conception.

Ms. Hammett, one of the self-contained collaborative teachers at Whitesburg Elementary, says that the wall provides a kinesthetic sensory break, which “improves students’ ability to focus and learn.”  In the long run, that helps to improve both their academic and personal growth.  She adds that the main goal for sensory items like this is to provide special needs students with healthy outlets to harness the overwhelming feelings they can have at times.

Whitesburg Elementary Principal Lisa Jones remarks that it’s great for the students of Whitesburg to see a graduate giving back to the students at the school.  “It impresses upon the younger students that there is a future beyond tomorrow,” she says, adding that it’s great to see students using their gifts, skills, and hobbies for the benefit of their own local communities.

According to the Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama, “The girl who goes for the Gold embraces challenges, achieves excellence, and works diligently to make the world a better place, in her own unique way.”  Girls who earn their Gold Award are recognized by the President of the United States, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Armed Services, and more.

In the words of Deyanara, “For Gold, I really had to make things bigger than myself.”

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