At NEC we have always had a sensory room in our SUN program. SUN students typically have developmental/cognitive disabilities or ASD on the more severe/profound end of the spectrum. So that’s quite a different population, but SUN students access the sensory room as part of their daily schedule routine, and are scheduled based on need. So it’s not an earned privilege or anything like that. I think if the intent is to meet sensory needs with students, or to have a calm/relaxing space for them, then I don’t think it’s appropriate to make it an earned privilege kind of thing… unless that is what a particular student would choose for their free choice time or something like that. Just my opinion.
We have also had a sensory space in our CIP program in the past. In that program we would typically expect that a student is “at a 1 or a 2” when they enter and would not use that space when they might be escalated or needing some heavy output or a different kind of break. CIP students tended to destroy the sensory room when escalated, and/or they would seek the space out when escalated. This made the space rather difficult to maintain. On that note, a recommendation I have is that if you are creating a sensory room – have a staff person dedicated or assigned to the space as far as clean up, organization, etc. People are terrible at keeping common spaces clean and organized, and a sensory space can quickly turn into a big mess of junk if someone’s not taking care of it.