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What is a Sensory Room?

Posted: August 26, 2019

Whilst general day to day hustle and bustle are second nature to many of us, to people with sensory needs or a learning or developmental disability, what we take to be ‘everyday’ can be absolutely daunting for some.

A sensory room is designed to combine a range of activities and items to assist individuals in developing and engaging their senses, in their own time, in a more comfortable and controlled environment.  Activities and items include things such as lights, colours, sounds and soft toys.  Under supervision, there may even be a range of different things which give off varying smells, such as essential oils.

Sensory rooms can serve as a safe space where a person can be introduced to different objects and experiences as a way to help learn what calms or triggers them, what they like and what they don’t like. By engaging in stimulating activities within a sensory room environment, it can have positive effects on a persons’ ability to be more tolerant of the outside world and its elements

The benefits of a sensory room are many, such as:

  • Improve coordination and development of fine motor skills
  • Improve confidence, therefore promoting more positive social interactions
  • Improve mental and physical relaxation
  • Improve behaviour, calming a person who may be somewhat distressed

Many popular sensory rooms are based on the famous ‘Snoezelen’ concept.  During the late 1970s two Dutch therapists, Jan Hulsegge and Ad Verheul, experimented with a sensory tent. Their goal was to increase enjoyment and sensory experience for those with intellectual disabilities. The result of a one- weekend test pilot was overwhelmingly positive for both verbal and non-verbal patients. The term Snoezelen® was coined soon after, which is a contraction of the Dutch verbs ‘snuffelen (to seek and explore) and ‘doezelen’ (to relax). This concept has been implemented worldwide with great success.

Snoezelen-based sensory rooms can be adapted to suit people who have the following types of diagnosis, to name a few.

  • Challenging behaviours
  • Learning disabilities
  • Mental health Issues
  • Autism
  • Brain injuries

Interaction Services is celebrating Sensory September! Be sure to register for our free Open Day on Friday 27th September! Sensory Room tours, morning tea and a sensory gift for every booking, this is your chance to experience the benefits first hand! Bookings are essential.

All Sensory Room bookings made in September will receive an additional half hour completely FREE! Plus, mention this article when booking to receive a free sensory gift bag!

Bookings can be made by calling 1300 668 123, email leisurelifestyle@interactionservices.org, or on our booking form. Get in touch to discuss Sensory Room options under your NDIS plan.

This article has also been published on Kiddipedia.