Quiet Corner
Primary Market
Health, Occupational Therapy
Items Needed
small bean bag chair, small tape cassette/CD player, portable headset or white, noise machine, headphones, calming music, book(s) on tape, container/shoe box of fidget items
The Activity Time
15 - 30 minutes

Objectives

  • Promote calm minds and bodies to increase readiness for learning
  • Facilitate self-regulation skills in children
The Challenge

The child is challenged to identify times during tasks (or in his/her daily routine) when “quiet time” is needed to regroup and reorganize.

Materials (cont)
  • weighted blanket or heavy sleeping bag
  • visual timer
Preparation

Time: 15 minutes

Materials

  • 1 Toobeez set
  • small bean bag chair
  • small tape cassette/CD player
  • portable headset or white
  • noise machine
  • headphones
  • calming music
  • book(s) on tape
  • container/shoe box of fidget items

Setup

1. With four tubes and four spheres, build a square and place it on the floor.

2. Repeat this step to make additional squares so there is one square for each child.

3. Place all the Toobeez squares in a line or in a circle on the floor.

Activity Plan

Time: 15 – 30 minutes

Instruction: Individual

Space: Corner of the room

Activity Setup

Step 1 Connect four 36“ tubes to form a square base

Step 1
Connect four 36“ tubes to form a square base

Step 2 Connect four more 36“ tubes so they extend vertically from the base

Step 2
Connect four more 36“ tubes so they extend vertically from the base

Step 3 Create the top part of the cube with eight 16“ tubes. Add all four curtains to create walls

Step 3
Create the top part of the cube with eight 16“ tubes. Add all four curtains to create walls

Step 4 Place selected relaxation items in the Quiet Corner

Step 4
Place selected relaxation items in the Quiet Corner

Therapist Tip: For added seclusion, drape a small parachute over the top of the Quiet Corner.

Helpful Hints

  • Be sure to review these tips prior to beginning the activity, and if necessary, share reminders with the group during the activity.
  • Utilizing a Quiet Corner assists children in self-regulation and serves as an area that promotes a calm and relaxed environment. Children that demonstrate a low frustration tolerance to environmental demands, hypersensitivity to sensory stimulation and children that easily become over-stimulated by environmental stimulation may find this Quiet Corner a safe place to regroup and reorganize.
  • Slow and rhythmic auditory input is perceived by the brain as calming. Examples are ocean waves, Native American drumming or a white noise machine.
  • Fidget tools can include items such as a pad and pencil for doodling or writing, a hand-held vibrator for calming tactile input, and scented lotion (such as lavender, chamomile or vanilla) for a calming olfactory experience.
  • Fidget tools such as pipe cleaners, Play-Doh® or Theraputty®, squeeze balls and Koosh balls® also allow the child to calming tactile input through the manipulation of these objects

Activity Instructions

1. Once you have set up the Quiet Corner in the classroom or therapy room, place the bean bag chair, the cassette/CD player and music, the fidget box of goodies and the weighted blanket/sleeping bag inside the Quiet Corner area. This allows the children to choose which tools assist him/her best in calming and reorganizing their brain and body.

2. Give the child time to explore the variety of calming tools that are inside the Quiet Corner.

3. Observe the child’s behavior in a variety of settings and note his/her preferred activities and tasks. This may provide more ideas for calming tools to place inside the Quiet Corner.

This student explores vibration as a calming tactile experience.

This student explores vibration as a calming tactile experience.

4. Observe the times during the day that the child appears to need the Quiet Corner the most, and incorporate the Quiet Corner at the times during the day where the child appears to need help with getting ready to learn. Is it first thing in the morning after a long bus ride? Is it mid-morning after attending to seated work for an extended period of time? Is it after recess and the child is too “wound up” to sit at his/her desk and complete afternoon work? Does the child appear to have a “meltdown” or unravel at the end of the day after a full day of cognitive demands? Use the Quiet Corner as a part of the child’s sensory diet.

5. Observe the child’s behavior during specific tasks, and identify signs of frustration before the child unravels and suggest a break time in the Quiet Corner to regroup. Is the child becoming frustrated with a specific task that requires a lot of brain power? Heavy breathing, a clenched jaw, fisted hands, down on the desk or table, and distractibility are a few signs of increasing frustration.

This student explores calming music through the headset and manipulates a Koosh Ball® in her hands.

This student explores calming music through the headset and manipulates a Koosh Ball® in her hands.

6. Establish a routine. Children thrive on routine. Clear routines allow students to orient to the day, giving them a sense of order. It also helps them to anticipate the demands of the day and provides comfort.

7. Once the Quiet Corner has worked well for the student (either through their reports of “feeling better,” a smile, or you observe calmer behavior), begin to shift the responsibility of scheduling time in the Quiet Corner to the student. Provide the child times throughout the day to communicate the need to calm him/herself.

Therapist Assessment

  • Observe each child’s preferred activities.
  • Observe each child’s participation in a group activity or seated work task after the student has spent time in the Quiet Corner. The child should be calm, alert and ready for learning.
  • Observe the “tools” each child chose to use when in the Quiet Corner. Fidgets such as a Koosh ball® and pipe cleaners are able to travel with students to various activities (that is, if switching classes) and are portable for transition times (for example, a bus ride home). The ability for the child to have these calming tools with him throughout the day will further aid in his/her self-regulation. These tools are also relatively inexpensive, and providing parents with this information will aid the successful carryover of daily routine (school, daycare, camp, etc.) into the home routine.
  • Ask the child to journal his/her experience in the Quiet Corner. Ask them to write how they felt when they went into the Quiet Corner, what activities they chose, and how they felt when they came out of the Quiet Corner.

Activity Discussion and Processing

Use the questions below as a guide for your discussion. Select the questions you feel will best benefit your child/student. It is not mandatory to cover every question. Make sure to let everyone share their ideas, and remind participants that everyone’s opinions and feelings are important!
Work through the following questions:
  • What made you decide to take some time in the Quiet Corner?
  • Which fidget tools, if any, did you choose to use when relaxing in the Quiet Corner?
  • Did you like the music? What about the music did you like?
  • What did you feel like before you went into the Quiet Corner? What do you feel like after coming out?

Activity Variations

1. Use it as a place to work on tasks.

The Quiet Corner can also be used as a space for seated work that requires concentration and manipulation of materials. All of the sensory materials can easily be removed, and the Quiet Corner can provide boundaries for children that are easily visually distracted. The quality of work may improve, and the child may appear less anxious when presented with a task that requires sustained attention.

Here are available Training Options!

Candice Donnelly-Knox is a licensed and registered occupational therapist with over three years of experience. She has experience working with students (ages 3 to 21) with a variety of needs including Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy and Down syndrome etc. Candice is dedicated to providing each student with an individualized plan to address their unique educational needs; needs that may include activities of daily living, coping skills, reading and handwriting, and functional math skills such as money management, pre-vocational and vocational skills.
All Activities of Candice Donnelly-Knox

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