Fleming Island junior given Gold Award for creating sensory room at R.C. Bannerman

By Nikki Schoenbeck nikki@opcfla.com
Posted 7/21/21

CLAY COUNTY – Lorelei Love is a hardworking Girl Scout in high school who recently achieved the Gold Award for devotion to children with special needs.

The Gold Award is one of many …

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Fleming Island junior given Gold Award for creating sensory room at R.C. Bannerman

Posted

CLAY COUNTY – Lorelei Love is a hardworking Girl Scout in high school who recently achieved the Gold Award for devotion to children with special needs.

The Gold Award is one of many accomplishments Love has received throughout her time in the Girl Scouts. Her vest displays a whopping 70 patches, all dedicated to something Love has done in the Girl Scouts. Her most recent award is the highest achievement Girl Scouts can get. Only 12 recipients this year were given this award.

Love was given the Gold Award after designing a sensory room for special needs children at R.C. Bannerman Learning Center in Green Cove Springs. The sensory room is designed to help children relax and cope with their emotions in a healthy manner. Love first got the idea for the sensory room after spending time with her friend.

“I have a friend with special needs, her name is Chloe. She’s a family friend and I’ve known her for years. Her mother is friends with a teacher at R.C. Bannerman Learning Center who needed help. Her kids were struggling a lot because they needed to relax because they were feeling overwhelmed, which brought up the idea for the sensory room,” Love said.

A lot of research was put into the sensory room. The sensory room needed to be a place where children could relax all while expressing their interests. Love started researching and designing the sensory room in ninth grade. The sensory room consists of certain items that are all geared towards helping children.

“When you walk into the sensory room, there’s many sensory activities such as tiles, where when you press on them move. They have liquid inside them where they move and the kids love them. The teacher gave us reviews towards them and how the kids love them. Then there’s a chalkboard wall, where they would draw on the wall. Since we painted on the wall with chalkboard paint for them to draw on. We also have these touch lights and a LEGOS wall,” Love said.

All of these items in the sensory room are designed to help children with special needs express their emotions. In addition to helping children ease their emotions, it can also help children to be more vocal and communicate what they want. Students at R.C. Bannerman are encouraged to tell the teacher if they wanted to use the sensory room. The sensory room helps children in many different ways.

“When a kid with autism is feeling overwhelmed, they have a hard time expressing that they’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s hard for them to tell an adult or their teacher that they’re feeling stressed. So they’ll then act out with actions and not use their words. So when they go into the sensory room, it acts as a calming environment, reduces the stress on the child and helps them to feel calm afterwards,” Love said. 

Along with being a Girl Scout, Love is also going to be a junior at Fleming Island High. She’ll be taking college level dual enrollment classes and hopes to one day work with animals and obtain a zoology degree. Love hopes to help both animals and people throughout her life. 

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