DCE Special Education Team
In 2017, the Coppell Education Foundation awarded a grant for a motor lab at Denton Creek Elementary. Multiple programs and classrooms use the motor lab daily including Structured Learning, Early Childhood Special Education Self-contained, Early Childhood Special Education Blended, and Resource, as well as our peer buddy program. The motor lab is also used by related service professionals such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, adapted physical education, and speech therapy. Finally, the motor lab is used by general education teachers, the guidance counselor, and administration for students with behavioral needs for which gross motor movement is beneficial.
Phew the motor lab gets a lot of use and we are so thankful for it.
But it has seen better days! The ball pit has a leak so that it needs to be blown up twice a day. In addition, we would like to expand the motor lab so that it can also be used as a sensory lab by adding more items to address sensory needs.
Students who have special needs such as those receiving intervention services through Special Programs, Early Childhood Special Education, or Resource often have sensory needs that include hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity. That means that those learners are either seeking ways to get more sensory stimulation or are easily overstimulated. Items such as a water panel, lighted marble wall panel, or a pogo swing would help them regulate their sensory needs to allow them to engage more effectively with the curriculum as well as with peers and staff.
The availability of this room allows educators and related service professionals to create learning opportunities that would otherwise not be possible. In the picture below, you see our Assistant Principal, Holly Dotson, is teaching two new Pre-K learners to throw and catch, but as you can also see, the balls are falling out because the sides of the ball pit are deflated.
Success is different for everyone and that is especially true for students who have Individualized Education Plans or 504’s due to diagnoses such as Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, Dyslexia, or other learning disabilities. The motor lab serves as a place where learning can be differentiated. A student receiving pull-out resource services might learn their multiplication facts better while jumping on a pogo swing. This space allows kinesthetic learners, who learn by doing, opportunities for practicing specific skills, such as cause and effect as well as visual tracking, listening, and communication skills which are all needed to enhance learning.
Further when an educator, guidance counselor, or administrator has a calm space where they can take a student who is agitated or in need of relaxation and emotional regulation, this allows that adult to build a relationship of trust that might not otherwise be achieved. The motor lab and, hopefully, with your assistance, a sensory lab, would help the educator meet the learner where they are at.
Please find attached to this grant a budget for the motor lab which includes: a new ball pit enclosure, pogo swing, platform swing, and trapeze bar. For our new sensory lab we would like to add a jellyfish tower, water panel, and LED light cube.