New Sensory Integration Room to Open in Pediatric Emergency Department

When the Pediatric Emergency Department opens next week on Oct. 2, one of most notable changes will be the addition of a sensory integration room. The room, which is designed for babies born with substance addictions and children with sensory processing disorders, autism and ADHD, came about as a result of a suggestion from various staff members as well as the TMC Pediatric Family Advisory Council. The Council is comprised of TMC staff members, physicians and patient families and meets once a month with the goal of improving the facilities, processes and care given to pediatric patients at TMC.

“We have been very fortunate to work with a family on the parent advisory committee who is passionate about helping us design a room that will be available to patients and their family in an effort to continue their routine while in an unexpected situation,” explains Melissa Moreno, Director of Emergency Services.

For children with sensory integration disorders, an unknown and busy emergency department can be a scary world of unfamiliar strangers, strange smells, and unbalancing movements. For a parent, the resulting melt-down can be frustrating and taxing. For the child it can be terrifying and traumatic.

In order to create a calming space for these children, the new room is a muted color with minimal wall art to decrease stimulation. Additionally, there will be various things available in the room to help pass the time including bean bags for them to sit on, therapy mats to lie on, squeeze balls, sensory balls of various shapes and textures, books, Legos and toys. For special procedures, the room will be equipped with weighted vests and blankets that provide calming and constant pressure.

“We understand that parents don’t plan to come to the emergency department, and when they are faced with a situation in which they have to, their child is in an environment that can cause additional anxiety for both the child and the parent,” Moreno said. “Creating this room just felt like the right thing to do for our pediatric patients and their families.”


  1. What a great addition this will be to our community! Glad to know its there if my son ever needs it. A real asset to special needs parents! Thank you!

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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