At the Institute for the Blind we present to you our multi-sensory stimulation area or better known as the Snoezelen area. We are excited for the opening and would like you to join in the process of establishing this area!
The Snoezelen concept was developed in the late 1970’s by two Dutch therapists, Jan Hulsegge and Ad Verheul, who worked at the De Hartenberg Institute in Holland, a center for persons with intellectual disabilities. The movement has grown to a worldwide foundation, national and international conferences and international research projects.
The world is full of different sensory stimuli. When we are born, all our senses are continually challenged by our environment. As we grow older we learn to interpret and respond to the information we receive through our senses. Our brains interpret the information which we receive through our senses which result in our responses to different situations. Our reactions to these situations become organized, automatic and efficient.
Snoezelen areas can be used to stimulate, relax, calm or energize. It can be staged to provide a multi-sensory experience or single sensory focus, simply by adapting the lighting, atmosphere, sounds, and textures to the specific needs of the client at the time of use. Snoezelen makes use of soothing sounds, captivating aromas, tactile experiences, massage and vibration, sensations, and gentle movement. Interesting light effects and comfortable seating allow the client to self regulate by choosing sensations. The motivation behind a Snoezelen room is to give the participants the chance to make choices and have control over the activities they want to participate in.
Our centre features 4 areas to suit every need of our special clients!
Often decisions concerning persons with disabilities are made for them without them being consulted. In this area they are given the opportunity to make decisions for themselves even if it is a simple one like whether they would like the light turned on or off. They receive the opportunity to take control of aspects of their lives. Lighting equipment; various textures and materials as well as music are used to create an atmosphere for self-exploration and learning of the environment. A sanctuary is created within this area to establish a feeling of contentment. This area also has a suspension frame to assist with standing activities.
This area grants persons who enter the opportunity to discharge negative emotional energy through physical activity as well as through consultation. The rate at which people interact is always done at their own speed and through choice not coercion.
Relaxation and treatment is given through aromatherapy, massage and reflexology. All the senses are included in the treatment within this area.
Within the interaction room persons are granted the opportunity to interact with their environment. Through special effects they are able to not only hear music but to experience it through vibration and sound. They once again have the freedom to choose the amount of lighting in the room as well as learn about action and reaction with a light interaction box. When they press different buttons lights go on. In this area vestibular stimulation is granted through movement and playing in a ball pool for movement within a textured environment.
Persons who have been excluded from many forms of stimulation because of a sensory problem be it vision; hearing, sensation; taste or smell now receives single and multi-sensory learning opportunities.