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ALPS Patients Benefit from Sensory Room
November 5, 2020

            Patients at the ALPS Day Services in Greeneville now have access to a sensory room provided by Walters State’s Student Occupational Therapy Assistant Association. ALPS is one of many local facilities that host occupational therapy students during clinical training.

            Sensory rooms offer special lighting, music and therapy tools in a safe space. Many also offer opportunities for patients to interact with the environment and benefit from social interaction. Rooms can also calm agitated patients.

            Courtney Boren, director of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, said the project challenged students to create an accessible room to meet the needs of patients with physical and cognitive dysfunctions. 

            “This project gave students experience in applying sensory integration concepts for use with aging adults and adults with developmental disabilities. Doing this project at ALPS and knowing that patients will be using the room for many years made this a very rewarding project,” said Boren.

            Students planned the room and purchased needed equipment with club funds. The two-year project will be completed Nov. 20. Patients, though, are already benefitting. 

            “The new additions have been a calming force to settle agitation and stress for our clients in uncertain times,” said Mahon Fritts, chief executive officer of ALPS.            

            “It’s one thing when young people come to ALPS as part of the mandatory clinical rotations. You open their eyes to a world they otherwise wouldn’t have seen. When students step up on their own to donate their time and finances, it’s truly heartwarming. ”     

            In designing the room, students used the well-researched Snoezelen studies of multi-sensory rooms. Equipment assists patients with thinking, mood, behavior and the ability to take part in everyday activities. 

            “I am extremely proud of the dedication past and present students have shown in serving the needs of our region,” Boren said.

            ALPS is a nonprofit organization with locations in Greeneville and Morristown. The organization provides safe day services for adults in a homelike setting.  

            For information about enrolling in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program, contact Boren at 423-798-8183 or Courtney.Boren@ws.edu. The program is based at the Walters State Niswonger Campus in Greeneville.