The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

OT grad students and CM students designed and built a multi-sensory Room for the Resource Center for Independent Living

OT students giving their final presentation to the RCIL staff. Photo courtesy of Mary Quinn.

A group of occupational therapy graduate students collaborated with construction management students to design and build a Multisensory Room for individuals with dementia at the Resource Center for Independent Living (RCIL). The purpose of the project was to enhance the center’s current activities and meet the needs of their seniors. 


Kylee Wojciechowski, an occupational therapy graduate student involved in the project, explained the goal of a Multisensory Room. 


“The main goal of a multisensory room is to incorporate items that target a specific, or multiple senses,” Wojciechowski said. “These rooms aim to enhance participation and help relax clients through stimulating or soothing activities.”


Tim Livesay, another occupational therapy graduate student involved in the project, said the room was a great success and the students involved gained a lot of knowledge. 


“We learned so much about being able to use the skills we gained from our program to allow us to help a community resource and about the benefits of a sensory room for any age and sensory need,” Livesay said. “We also learned how to use our interprofessional educational skills with a different profession totally out of our experience in the healthcare field.”


The students faced a few obstacles while designing the room such finding a meeting time that worked for everyone and creating the layout design. 


“Finding what large floor items would best fill the space required a lot of debate, and

research on our end,” Wojciechowski said. ”Especially after the construction management students saw the room and made their layout designs, we had a continual process of changing our plans based on additional information they gave us about the rooms setup.”


Wojciechwoski said this room will benefit the RCIL community and its members by offering an additional resource to support families with aging family members and by providing a safe space.


Professor of occupational therapy Colleen Sunderlin guided the students in the project along with Dimitar Todorov, associate professor of construction management. 


“This was a perfect project for collaboration between students in a health science major and construction management,” Sunderlin said. “For the students involved, they were able to collaborate with another discipline and apply the skills of interprofessional practice: values, ethics, roles, responsibilities, communication, and teamwork.”


The campus also has a sensory room located in Gordan Science Center, room 272. 


“Students in the occupational therapy program host weekly open hours for students, staff, and faculty to openly use the sensory room to improve their sensory health,” said Cicily Talerico, professor of occupational therapy who helped design the sensory room on campus. 


Open hours are listed on the door each week. 

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