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A sensory room for special needs children becomes a reality

A SENSORY ROOM FOR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN BECOMES A REALITYA dream came true for staff and special needs pupils at a school in Almancil, EB Canon Dr Clementino de Brito Pinto, part of Agrupamento de Escolas de Almancil, and most especially for teachers Sras. Rita Reis and Maria Mestre. 

Peter Hinze and Marco Cogolles officially opening the much needed Sensory Room.Rita and Maria teach children with special needs whose ages range from 5 to 16 years. These children’s problems can include but are not limited to autism, downs syndrome, hyperactivity and depression.  The dream was to have a sensory room which would benefit these children.  Time in a sensory room can provide a sense of calm, help and improve their visual and auditory skills and help to regulate their behaviour.  However, equipment for these rooms is specific and expensive.

When Peter Hinze, Almancil International Rotary Club (AIRC) Chair of Community Services heard about the need for a sensory room, he decided this was a project the club which has supported the school with various projects in the past, including support for the special needs children, should become involved with.  Peter contacted local businesses QP Savills and the Conrad Algarve Hotel, both of which agreed to help.  On 1 December 2022 General Manager of the Conrad Sr. Marco Cogolles organised a fund-raising event which was well attended.  This together with generous donations from the Conrad, QP Savills and AIRC members and friends enabled the project to be started and the equipment bought.  A local electrician, Hugo Pereira, donated the installation of the Electrical equipment for the room and the Câmara Municipal de Loulé also made a contribution.   

Last week the project finally came to fruition.  The room is now complete with state-of-the-art equipment including a waterbed, music and many sensory light and tactile objects for the children to use on occasions when Rita and Maria feel the children need time out from their lesson to calm down or when they may be in need of sensory stimulation. 

At a ceremony at the school attended by staff, teachers and members and guests of AIRC, the Sensory Room was officially opened by Peter Hinze, Marco Cogolles and School Director Sra Rosario Millitao.

“We are delighted and proud to have supported this worthwhile project,” said Peter Hinze.  “Our next project will be to raise funds for a sensory garden at the Alzheimer’s Association day care facility in Vila Sol”. We welcome new members of all nationalities to our club who are willing to become part of our efforts to support the local community and make new friends. In the first instance I can be contacted atpeteralmancilrotary@sapo.pt



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