Here are a few of the things we have learned to pay attention to when setting up and running a quiet room:

Setup

  • Need to find a room that is fairly close to the competition and is easy to find and get to
  • Need a room that has a closeable door, in case the noise from the competition or hallway gets too loud in the room
  • If possible, have someone with noise sensitivity listen for high-pitch noises. Some people on the spectrum are super sensitive to high pitch ringing that people without the sensitivity cannot hear
  • Need an area in the room to stretch or pace
  • Need seating, most of which can be fairly isolated/spread out
  • Need to have an area for visitors to be able to lie down (we use a foam portable floor. It helps to define the space and make it more comfortable

Supplies

  • Helpful to have a sensory diet there like pillows, blankets, sheets. We found having those items with different textures such as fleece, silky, corduroy, smooth sheet, etc.
  • Bean bag chairs (one or two) are excellent to have
  • Need to have items visitors can fidget with (fidget spinners, stress balls, small toys, etc.)
  • Need to have a darkened room, but make sure to include small lamps and a lava lamp or two
  • A jigsaw puzzle or two are helpful
  • Cards with rules for using the room (if you’re not comfortable with rules, then an explanation of what the room is and how it is intended to be used)

Best Practices

  • Be ready to defend the integrity of the room having the cards (above) will help
  • Some people will try using the room to take naps, that is not the purpose of a quiet room
  • Room supervision
    • Have enough people to supervise so that you can do 2-hour rotations
    • Have something for people supervising the room to do (puzzle, magazines, or something like that)
  • Good, clear signage pointing towards the room is necessary in the venue
  • It’s helpful to have information about the room available and provided at the Mentor’s meeting right before the competition