Calming Rooms as a Proactive Self-Regulation Strategy – APH029

Reviewed/Revised: March 2019


The Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) recognizes its responsibility to provide a safe and supportive learning and working environment for all students and staff members. Staff considering the use of a calming room to support self-regulation of students with special education needs should also review APH012 Physical Containment: Guidelines for Responding to Injurious and Self-Injurious Student Behaviour in order to address issues related to the safety of our students and staff members.

The use of a calming room sometimes referred to as a de-escalation room, quiet area, calming space, sensory room etc., is based on the concept of reducing environmental and body triggers as a coping strategy for students  in elevated and/or depressed emotional states of arousal. Calming areas are widely used in a variety of settings, including schools, homes, therapeutic clinics and hospitals to support self-regulation. It is important that calming areas are not to be used as places of punishment, seclusion and/or containment.

The Guidelines for use of calming rooms provide a consistent approach in the use of calming rooms for the purpose of prevention and de-escalation of challenging behaviours.