I have been an on-again/off-again artist all of my life but had never ventured into the world of mural painting until several years ago when I had the opportunity to volunteer with a non-profit whose mission involved producing murals to benefit sick children.  There, I was able to train under experienced artists and learn much about the approach and techniques of taking murals from blank board inception to full color representative completion.  I fell in love with it and managed to personally, and communally, create many projects that would later hang in hospitals and children’s homes.

Turning a family space into a sensory space with the help of a familiar mural scene

While I was working as a provider for a teen on the spectrum a couple of years ago, his mother and I set out to create a sensory area; a place for her son to relax and explore his independence.  Additionally, the thought/hope was that while the area could provide enjoyment for him, it could also become a safe place where his parents could feel comfortable leaving him alone and use the time as respite from constant monitoring.  As we discussed our plans, the suggestion of a mural pertaining to areas of interest in her son’s life was raised. 

I was happy to be asked to paint the mural and transfer this area of my skill-set into a beneficial piece of art that this boy could both relate to and find some comfort in.  

Upon its completion I began to consider what a wonderful thing a personal mural could be for all special needs kids, teens and adults.  A “sensory mural” could act as an interactive tool to facilitate communication possibilities, encourage stress reduction and help to foster a space that a child might be motivated to frequent.

Whether you are an amatuer artist, know an artist, don’t mind paying for an artist or are simply willing to do the best you can, I recommend considering a mural for a sensory area, your child’s bedroom or wherever it suits you. 

Murals offer a chance for you to connect with your child and talk about what you see; ask them questions about what they see; encourage spontaneous language, be it spoken, signed or any alternative form of communication; tablet, PECs, etc. 

A mural containing sensory space where your child goes to study and/or reflect upon the different objects, actions, colors, etc., and happily drift into the mural’s world can be life elevating.

In addition, during outbursts or meltdowns, using the mural as a focal point to distract and help regulate emotions could be a tremendous tool.  Think about the things your child loves and then create a design.  You can cut out pictures and collage them together to use as your template.  Consider using stencils (no such thing as cheating).  Or if you are an artist, sketch out your design. 

Include characters from your child’s favorite shows and books, interacting with each other or display them in familiar ways using recognizable objects pertaining to their world; paint beautiful vistas of skies filled with birds; flowers teaming with bees and butterflies; whales piercing the oceans ceiling and schools of fish below.  Have your child take off with Buzz Lightyear in a rocket ship to explore the planets. Make areas of texture for tactical sensory input using an assortment of safe and natural materials. The possibilities are endless and can include letters, numbers, words, names, etc…

A sensory mural can brighten your child’s world and show them how much you love them.  No matter how severe your child’s involvement in their disability, a mural full of familiar, positive influences in their lives has a chance to change all of your lives in the best ways.  Reimagine a room and then reimagine your child’s potential:)

Peace and Keep Rising!

Published by riseup20

I am a retired teacher with a creative bent and I am excited to bring attention and assistance to parents and caregivers of children with special needs. Mark

2 thoughts on “SENSORY MURALS

  1. If I want to make a mural happen in my home, are you still painting/available to hire (actual painting, or for consulting)? Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: