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ABS is excited to expand our day services program with the inclusion of a multi-sensory room, in part funded by American Rescue Plan Funds designated to improve HCBS services in the wake of the COVID pandemic.
Multi-sensory rooms, (often referred to as Snoezelen Rooms), are typically used to provide people with autism, or other cognitive abilities, with a form of patient-led
therapy that they can direct themselves. By exposing someone to stimuli in a comfortable environment,
sensory rooms are said to reduce over-stimulation as well as reduce common triggers which may cause
discomfort or anxiety for adults and children who have intellectual disabilities.
Developed in the Netherlands in the late 1970s by
psychologists Ad Verheul and Jan Hulsegge, Snoezelen
incorporates all the senses to create a true multisensory experience, giving the person a sense of control and a way to explore and interact in his or her environment, while helping to reduce agitation and anxiety and
encouraging communication. To meet specific needs, the multisensory environment can adapt the lighting, atmosphere and sound, with
various textures and textiles placed throughout the setting.
Many of the elements in the room are tied together to a central panel. A sunshine theme turns all the lighting yellow while an underwater theme makes everything blue. That being said, every piece of equipment turns on and off individually. If someone is sensitive to sound, the speakers can be muted or completely turned off. Everything in the room doesn’t have to be used at the same time.
Whether used independently or facilitated by a staff member, sensory rooms can be used to calm and relax, or stimulate exploration, learning and development, to help individuals process the world around them. Studies have shown that sensory rooms have positive effects across multiple areas including; Autism, ADHD, Sensory
Processing Disorders, Alzheimer’s, Acquired brain impairments, Cognitive
disabilities, Mental illness, and Chronic pain.
ABS currently has 4 staff participating in training to utilize the room to its full
potential in helping people with sensory needs.
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