Multi-sensory room helps to relax people with disabilities


SARASOTA – The 33rd annual Sarasota Powerboat Race to the Grand Prix kicks off this weekend, and the Grand Prix festival is making some contributions to local businesses.

One of their latest contributions is a multi-sensory room at The Haven, a nonprofit that serves disabled children and adults.

The room features calming sounds, fiber optics, and the fan favorite: the ball pit.

“They love the ball pit; that’s definitely been the number one feedback,” president and CEO of The Haven, Brad Jones, said. “They definitely just love the calming environment.”

The Haven has been in operation for 63 years.

“Our mission is to empower and create independent lives for people with disabilities,” Jones said.

Bradley Morall is an employee at The Haven who says he visits the room at least once a week.

“I love it in here, it’s so cool,” he said.

“It’s an amazing sensory room that allows our clients to come in and really just be able to relax, as well as have some stimulation,” Jones said.

What makes it so relaxing?

“Everything, really,” Morall said. “It’s brand new and it’s lovely”

The room was completed about  three months ago.

“Really if someone’s having an off day, they can come in here, take a little break, as well as come in here just do some meditation and relaxation exercises,” Jones said.

The room was made possible by Grand Prix’s collaboration with Suncoast Charities for Children.

“We met them through the Grand Prix and decided to move forward with the multi-sensory room, and it’s been a great project for us as a family,” Powerboat P1 marketing director Azam Rangoonwala said.

It’s also a great ‘haven’ for people with disabilities.

“We do have a lot of people here who have lots of stress sometimes,” Morall said. “It helps them quite a lot to come in here.”

Both stress-relieving and stimulating, the room has interactive aromatherapy. You just press a button, and a calming scent is released.

“It pretty much gets to all the senses so it really encapsulates the whole experience for ’em,” Jones said.

He said watching people use the room is what it’s all about.

“Just seeing the clients, from the kids all the way through the adults, being able to enjoy it is just an amazing experience,” Jones said.

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Hallie Peilet
Hallie Peilet is an Indiana University graduate with a degree in broadcast journalism, and a minor in music. She has had experience in several media outlets. Previously, she interned for WCIU-TV in Chicago, learning about production and live reporting. During her senior year at IU, she worked as a reporter and anchor for her campus news station, and as a multimedia journalist for WTIU/WFIU, the PBS/NPR affiliate in Bloomington. She grew up just outside of Chicago in Munster, Indiana, and in her free time she enjoys spending time with her friends and family, discovering new music, and watching Chicago sports. If you have an idea for a story, e-mail her at


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