Katie McMurray (she/her)
Sensory Tool House, LLC was founded by Katie McMurray, a Thurston County resident for over 30 years. Katie is a neurodivergent business owner, board member, volunteer, wife, and mom to three neurodivergent kids. Katie holds an M.Ed. in Educational Guidance and Counseling where she focused on Sensory Processing Disorder. For over 15 years she has worked with the neurodiverse community as a teacher, volunteer, vocational counselor, and certified disability management specialist. Her understanding of the community, neurodiversity, and business operations gives her the opportunity to provide a safe and welcoming space which celebrates the needs and individuality of all people. In her downtime she loves to hike or play on the Salish Sea.
Tahj Malone (he/him)
Tahj is happy to serve our neurodiverse community as the General Manager at Sensory Tool House! He has four years of retail/management experience and looks forward to putting that experience into Sensory Tool House. Tahj prefers to wind down with a night of Netflix joined by his Partner and furball, Onyx.
Lauren Howard (she/her)
Director of Resources
Military wife, mother of three, and an avid volunteer, Lauren is thrilled to join the team at Sensory Tool House! Lauren is eager to help connect community members to organizations, agencies and financial supports that will best benefit them. She is honored to help provide access to the tools and equipment necessary to ensure all members of our community are afforded opportunities to thrive. Lauren holds a BS in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior from UC Davis. She is a member of the Board of Directors for South Sound Parent to Parent and has recently started a support group for parents raising children with special needs for the families in her husband’s unit on JBLM.
Steven Jordan (he/him/they)
Customer Service / Assistant Manager
Steven is a neurodivergent, full time Evergreen student studying political economy and filmmaking. He has been a member of the Olympia activist community since 2016 and is committed to the de-stigmitization and normalization of neurodivergent tendencies.
Gavin Mast (he/him)
Assistant Manager/ Media
Gavin is a graduate student studying to become a clinical mental health counselor with a focus in serving people of diverse neurotypes. He has a background in providing support services for individuals with neurodevelopmental differences and various disabilities. As a neurodivergent person, Gavin is passionate about providing accessible, affirming, and effective care. He is happy to connect with and support the community through his work at the Sensory Tool House.
Event Attendant / Customer Service
Amelia is a neurodivergent, former special education teacher, who has worked with students of all abilities for 10 years. As a late in life diagnosed neurodivergent, Amelia is passionate about recognizing the symptoms of neurodivengency in all genders and ensuring that everyone gets the support that they need. In her free time, she like to build Legos and hang out with her husband and 5 dogs!
Frances Gregory (they, them)
Frances has eight years of collective business experience in the book industry and a BA from the Evergreen State College. They are a published poet with a history in punk music and organizing around transformative justice and mental health advocacy. They love roller skating, crafting, and watching movies. Late diagnosed with ASD, they look forward to serving the neurodivergent community through their work at Sensory Tool House.
Kelsey Sheets (she, her)
Contracts and Purchasing Manager
Kelsey comes to Sensory Tool House, LLC with a background in corporate purchasing. She herself is a queer neurodivergent and the mother to two young children who are ND and on the spectrum. Her partner Theo is also ND and adjunct faculty at St Martin’s University. She believes strongly that neurodivergence doesn't have to be a barrier to success. Kelsey is passionate about providing access to necessary sensory tools and devices to the community and to DSHS/DDA clients so that they too can access their very best comfort and potential. She has a strong interest in the intersections of neurodivergence and queer identities.
Kelsey acknowledges that she lives and does business on the traditional and unceded land of the Coast Salish Peoples.
The Creation of Sensory Tool House, LLC
It all began during COVID-19 lockdown. A good friend asked where, locally, she could buy the sensory swing Katie has in her home. It was then, she realized that our community and the neurodiverse population does not have easily accessible resources. Katie has experienced the difficulties of shopping and finding products to support her child’s needs.
Most items have to be ordered on-line. It is very important for individuals to have an opportunity to feel and experience items that could support them in a safe, sensory-friendly environment. Ordering online leads to many items needing to be returned and the challenges that involves. From packing up the item, preparing the kids or yourself to run errands in a neurotypical setting, taking the item to a store/post office/mail provider, standing in line, to then reordering and repeating the process again. Katie knows the difficulties that this presents on her family and decided to solve the problem. The sensory store seed was planted!
Katie is strongly supported by her family, notably her husband, Dan. As an airline captain he may not always be seen, but he is excited to be supporting Katie and the community.
She was diagnosed as a neurodivergent adult and can look back on how this affected her throughout her life in very positive and sometimes very challenging ways. Her three children are also neurodivergent. Aside from neurodivergence, she is familiar with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and how trauma can affect one’s senses. Her time as a foster and adoptive parent has helped teach Katie the everyday needs which one cannot get from education alone.
Their oldest son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and he has spent countless hours in various therapies and appointments. She has watched the beauty of who he is and the challenges that he faces being neurodivergent. No parent should apologize for their child’s senses being overwhelmed, yet that is what most parents like Katie do. Whether the setting is a store, mall, airport, concert, birthday party, private home, school, or restaurant the senses can be overwhelmed, communication becomes difficult, and stimming or other regulatory behaviors happen, leading to misunderstanding by those around. This is when the apologizes begin, but that is where they should end.
Sensory Tool House, LLC will never look for an apology for regulatory behaviors.
Katie and Dan know the challenges that caregivers face when supporting a family member with disabilities. No one person’s experience is alike, however there is a binding tie - it is hard and worth every moment. Katie’s work in the community, education, work experience, and personal experiences provide her with the ability to bring to the community this missing piece;
a supportive, safe, shopping experience for all.
The McMurray Family