Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Bonus Material: "Quiet Rooms"

This is the bonus material for the May 5, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl making its $300 goal. Here are some of the tools that Terramagne uses to support a healthy social atmosphere.

"Quiet Room Resources"

In Terramagne, a quiet room is a place stocked with soft furnishings such as squashy chairs, beanbags, cushions, etc. It may also have soothing decorations such as a fountain, aquarium, mobile, or houseplants. There may be silent amusements like books, ereaders, or puzzles. Decorations use pastel or earthy colors, fuzzy or draping fabrics, and curving shapes to create a sense of safety. This provides a place for people to relax and unwind in general. If they are upset or overloaded, they can calm down before things reach the point of explosion or meltdown.

Quiet rooms are about as common in Terramagne as a first aid station, slightly less so than restrooms. In fact a first aid station often offers Emotional First Aid as well as physical. Sometimes those occupy the same space; other times the physical and emotional facilities are side-by-side. This availability of quiet rooms and EFA substantially lowers disorderly incidents caused by stressful events or out-of-control feelings.

There are multiple variations on this theme. A nursing lounge is a subtype of quiet room and usually separate, although a quiet room may be used for breastfeeding if there is no designated nursing lounge. Other options include rooms for meditation, yoga, prayer, or reading. Some are specialized for children. Many public establishments -- malls, schools, office or apartment buildings, stadiums, etc. -- will have a quiet room somewhere. The larger the facility, the more likely it is to subdivide quiet rooms by function to avoid overcrowding.

They're often marked with a sign like this. Most quiet rooms are communal, meant to accommodate multiple people. Those with private booths customarily have a sliding sign to indicate availability. They may post tips for calming down.

This quiet room is from a shopping center in Australia, designed for autistic people. Similar to restrooms, some quiet rooms may have alcoves or even separate roomlets for privacy.

A quiet room can also be very small! Many establishments which subdivide their space into offices, stores, or other sections will set aside the smallest one for this purpose. Quiet rooms can be as little as a corner or an alcove. A canopy can make a quiet corner in any room. This is one that Mallory acquires for the landing near the futon. You can make a canopy with fabric and a hula hoop, or use curtains and an embroidery hoop for a no-sew version.

Soft shapes and colors are soothing. Here's a set of photos from a large quiet room for hackers. It has a corner couch, shelves, a fan for white noise, and generally makes a nice refuge.

This quiet room uses an aquarium to help people relax.

Some have a couch or bed so people can lie down. This one has a couch with a gauze tent. Here's one using warm earth tones and dividing screens.

Facilities catering to soups may use materials that respond to (and are resistant to damage from) superpowers. Dexflan is thick and stretchy, kind of like spandex. It's good for making floppy pillows to cuddle with. Capery is more like silk crepe, lightweight and non-stretchy. It can be used to make floor cushions.

A good quiet corner often combines a variety of materials and textures. There are couches made to sit directly on the floor.

This version is for business use. It offers a row of individual roomlets. Each roomlet contains a desk with a phone, two chairs, and a large whiteboard. The glass front provides audio privacy while showing occupancy status.

In Terramagne, most hotels, convention centers, and business parks offer such cubicles for private conversations. So do many malls, libraries, community centers, student unions, and other places where people gather. They usually have a mix so that some can be reserved for a specific time while others have open availability. Most have blinds or curtains for visual privacy, so that Deaf people can converse or proprietary models may be shown, but it is considered extremely crude to use a privacy booth for sexual liasons. Availability is typically indicated with a sliding sign on the door, or in more sophisticated locations, an automatic sensor changes a lit sign.

Nursing Lounge

Also called a breastfeeding room, this is a place for lactating parents to feed their babies in peace. It varies somewhat whether bottlefeeding is allowed or not. In Terramagne, there have been a few disputes over whether such facilities are for "natural women" only or also welcome lactating transwomen and/or recently pregnant men whose gestational superpower extends to breastfeeding. Potential users concerned about this issue should check the policies; quiet rooms of any kind often have a sign and a list of rules posted on the door or window. Nursing lounges usually have a cute, cozy atmosphere.

Some companies offer a pod-type lactation station which can be added to any facility. It provides a private, sanitary place to feed a baby or to pump breast milk. This is a much cheaper option than requiring establishments to remodel an entire room. In Terramagne, an Italian company called Mama Mia! raises funds to subsidize such pods and provide them free to locations that can't afford one. They started out doing this just in Italy but have expanded to some other places, particularly airports and other transportation hubs, after Italian citizens complained about a lack of appropriate breastfeeding support abroad. Many other family-friendly corporations have begun buying and distributing such pods to advertise their support of new parents and babies. One of the outside panels usually has space for a full-size ad. Private pods or cubicles usually have a sliding sign to show availability.

Meditation Rooms

Meditation rooms are another variant of quiet room. Some double as prayer rooms, or that may be a separate location. Most are communal, but private meditation stalls typically have a slider sign to show availability.

This is a meditation room with several different stations using couches and rugs. They often use rounded furniture and other curves to help people relax. Furnishings are often mobile and may be stacked aside when not in use. This makes it easy to rearrange the room for different purposes. It's also possible to get custom mats that fit together to match a room exactly.

Posters or other materials may help novices get started with meditation.

Here a round rug is the focus, and there are scented candles burning. This is typical of a meditation room in a retreat center or large apartment building. This spiritual retreat has kneeling benches, yoga mats, and a singing bowl. This meditation room has floor cushions over a hardwood floor.

Here is one with a fountain and pool, along with plants, in a Japanese style. These Asian-inspired meditation rooms are typical of what you'd find in a martial arts dojo or a Buddhist center.

Office buildings tend to go with a relatively spare and formal style. They may also simply use a multipurpose room for meditation or yoga, like this.

This one is actually a tree house, such as might be found just outside the main lodge of a retreat center.

This example has "Contemporary and Asian influences, spare and classic furnishings, gardens and water, and Venetian plaster walls and ceiling – altogether a luminous, sculptural place." See the floor plan for this meditation room. Here is a floor plan for a combination meditation room and yoga studio.

Prayer Rooms

Prayer rooms may be denominational or multifaith. The latter have plain hardscaping (floors, walls, windows, etc.) but usually contain materials suitable to several different faiths in cabinets: rugs, cushions, candles, incense, bells, etc. A bookcase of scripture and inspirational texts is customary. This sign is from the London Heathrow airport.

Muslims especially need prayer rooms because their religion requires praying at several specific times of day.

Here is a Christian example. The symbols of faith are definite yet discreet, making this suitable for a wide range of sects.

This is a single large interfaith prayer room. It may be used by people of different religions simultaneously, or customized for one group's private meeting.

This prayer hall is typical of a large public facility such as a convention center, with individual prayer rooms marked off by denomination. Private prayer cubicles customarily have a sliding sign to show availability.

Yoga Rooms

Yoga rooms have plenty of open space and simple decorations suited to mild physical activity. They customarily include an assortment of mats, cushions, and other supporting materials. A bookcase of reference materials -- or at least some posters showing basic and intermediate poses -- help people get started. This sign is from the San Francisco Airport.

Some show poses on the walls.

This room is typical of a Buddhist facility or a retreat center, with a warm look and Asian decorations.

Again, office buildings tend toward a spare, contemporary look. Community centers are often similar. An upscale apartment building or multipurpose facility might use contemporary decorating ideas such as curved walls, dimpled glass, and abstract artwork. A shared house or small apartment building may go for something cozier.

This small yoga room has mats, cushions, weights, and a bookcase. Turrets or towers often have small floor space compared to other rooms, making them popular for recharge space of any kind. They also lend themselves well to meditative floor patterns.

Slightly more complex is a small yoga studio with attached bathroom and storage closets. See a floor plan. Here is an elaborate layout for a large yoga room with attached changing rooms and other support facilities. This is the kind of thing that appears in buildings with some kind of amenity floor(s).

Reading Lounges

A reading lounge is a quiet room furnished with numerous books and/or magazines. In Terramagne, any public reading area tends to have materials for various ages and languages, including picture books, unless target audiences are separated into specialized locations and collections. Often there are ereaders loaded with magazine subscriptions, public-domain books, and anything by local writers. These may include shopping options so that if you have to leave before you finish what you were reading, you can buy it and send it to your personal reading account.

Hotels, community centers, and other busy places often designate a quiet area like this with fun bookcases and homey furnishings. An office reading lounge typically focuses on professional materials plus a few recreational options. A children's reading room may place younger books at a lower level and older books higher up.

Living Assets

Plants and animals help people calm down. Houseplants and aquaria are ubiquitous in waiting rooms and other public places.

A green wall divides space, cushions sound, and soothes the senses. Here, shade plants fill the bottom of a skylight.

This relaxation room offers lounge chairs, headphones, and a large aquarium of tropical fish and live plants. Potted plants and a saltwater aquarium make this waiting room more welcoming.

Quiet Rooms for Children

Some spaces are designed especially for children at schools, daycare, hospitals, playgrounds, and so forth. These usually have extra safety features and toys.

A multisensory room gives children a safe place to explore different experiences, so they are less inclined to play with inappropriate and perhaps dangerous things. This also solves the problem of bored children seeking stimulation in bothersome ways.

A soft playroom or rumpus room offers a safe space for children who may feel frightened or overstimulated. It has thick mats and places to run, climb, bounce, or hide.

This is a quiet room at a school. It has cozy furnishings, cuddly toys, and age-appropriate reading materials. It provides a soothing refuge to children who are still learning emotional regulation, sensory processing, and social skills. Schools usually have at least a few teachers trained in EFA, and the better ones have an Emotional First Aide along with the school nurse. This way when students become upset, someone is available to teach them coping skills.

Posters or other educational materials can give kids easy ideas for coping with their challenges.

What is NOT a quiet room? This is not a quiet room. It is a padded cell. It locks children into solitary confinement when they are displeasing to adults. Solitary confinement does bad things to primates, especially juveniles. Here there is little space to move around and burn off excess energy, a crucial need in childhood development; this issue is better addressed by a rumpus room, yoga room, or recess. There is nothing to do or to look at that would assist in regaining calm, nor is there any instructor. A yoga, prayer, or meditation room would work better for that; ideally with an adult to teach coping skills. There are no soft, soothing things to cuddle. A quiet room comes with those, and often a yoga or meditation room does too. This is an oubliette, where people are put when somebody wants to forget about them. It does not make anyone calmer. It makes them angrier or sadder. That is generally what happens when you turn up the heat on a sealed container. It can cause explosions. Isolation constitutes abuse and neglect because it causes psychological (and sometimes physical) harm while depriving children of their survival and developmental needs.

How to Make a Quiet Room

Anyone can make a quiet room, and you can customize its purpose and furnishings based on user needs. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive; you can often assemble one from materials already on hand. Consider what you want to use it for and plan accordingly. Choose a space; for most purposes, a small room is best. If you can't dedicate a whole room, then use a hanging tent, draperies, folding screens, or other dividers to seclude a corner or alcove.

Keep decorations simple. Soothing colors are best: ivory, rosepetal, peach, butter, mint, turquoise, lavender, silver, and tan may aid relaxation. Provide something to sit or lie upon: a squashy chair, beanbag, couch, or floor cushions. An end table with a drawer and cabinet is a good choice for holding books or other supplies. Add a pleasant, neutral focus such as an abstract painting or statue. If you have time to care for them, living components such as a houseplant or aquarium fish can help revive people. Include a poster or guidebook of easy coping skills and emotional first aid to assist stress relief, because upset people may not remember steps they would typically use.

If children will be using this space, make sure the furniture suits them; provide a kiddie chair or beanbag. Silent toys such as teddy bears, puzzles, or foam blocks are generally known. Seriously consider adding a carton of assorted sensory toys; although meant for children with special needs, they are soothing to everyone and are marketed for adults as "office toys."
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, discussion, fantasy, fishbowl, how to, reading, weblit, writing

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