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Kirrawee Public School opens new sensory learning area

A new purpose-built sensory learning area for children with special needs was officially opened at Kirrawee Public School this week.

The air-conditioned room will be used by students with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, such as autism, ADHD and other sensory-processing difficulties.

It was designed and built as a breakout area where children can go to calm down and adjoins a "de-escalation playground" and another room used by speech and occupational therapists.

The new $556,000 learning area was built by the state government as part of the Integration Funding Support Program, which helps students with moderate to high learning support needs who attend regular schools.

Kirrawee Public School principal Selwyn Williams said the new sensory learning area was a first for a mainstream school in Sutherland Shire and would support the 37 children who attend its three special needs classes.

Mr Williams said the new areas gave children a safe space to go and calm down.

"It's designed so that the teacher can still see the child from the classroom," he said.

"There are a lot of different tools in there to calm the child as the same thing does not work for every child.

"There are no stimulants in there and no other children to set off. It allows the child to correct the behaviour themsleves without the influence of other kids. They are able to go in there and calm down and not escalate.

"The de-escalation playground has a cushioned ground so the child cannot hurt themselves."

Mr Williams said teachers had noticed a big difference since the area became operational at the start of fourth term.

"The teachers are saying this is just absolutely fabulous as they can get more quality teaching time because before all the issues had to be managed in the same room," he said, adding children could calm down much faster in the sensory learning area and return to class.

State MP for Miranda Eleni Petinos said she was proud to officially open the new sensory learning area which would benefit the students, their teachers and support staff.

She said it was the largest investment in public education infrastructure in the school's history.

"We want all school students in NSW to have the very best education, and providing high-quality upgrades and additions like these to existing schools is a key part of that," Ms Petinos said.

"It's wonderful to see that we are delivering modern, purpose-built support facilities for students with disabilities to help them integrate into a mainstream school.

"I know it's an exciting time for the students and teachers, and I'm glad to be able to celebrate the opening of the new sensory space with the school."