FAMILIES who attend Horsham's Church of Christ can now enjoy services even more with the introduction of a sensory room.
Families pastor Linda Oman said the room launched on Sunday and offered a therapeutic space for children aged between four and 12 to "help them calm down and regulate so they can re-engage" with the congregation.
"There has definitely been an increase of children in the parish with high sensory needs," she said.
Mrs Oman said children that would benefit from the room include children with autism, children with anxiety and children who were tactile learners.
The room has a big glass window which looks out onto the main worship space, speakers that transmit audio from services and acoustic panels to regulate noise.
"Rather than (parents) having to leave or disappearing out into the playground when we have main events, instead they can participate here and still be comfortable on the couch," Mrs Oman said. "They can still see, they can hear, they can adjust the temperature and lights and volume to whatever they need."
Mrs Oman said William Ready sensory consultants designed the room. It features a bubble tower, egg chair, weighted objects, an activity wall and a touch wall map of Australia made from multiple textiles.
"On Sunday there was a child with autism and he just sat in (the egg chair)," she said. "There were other children there but he just sat there in his happy place for quite a few minutes and just calmed down in there."
Mrs Oman said the space was "not a playroom" and that parents would need to accompany their children, but siblings were allowed.
She said the room was able to be created from funding received through a CareWorks grant with additional money from the Crafty Friends group.
Horsham Church of Christ parishioner and parent Heidi White said while the room wasn't for her children, she was aware of families who would benefit from the space.
"Parents often cope by bringing things in to church for their children to play with," she said. "To have everything you need in this room and be able to hear the sermon is so good."
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up below.