Snoezelen incorporates a specialized selection of sensory equipment and materials that enhance therapy/learning goals, relaxation and provides a sense of empowerment. For more information, check out Southeastern's Snoezelen Sensorium website.
What is Snoezelen?
The Snoezelen environment is safe and non-threatening. Children and adults with disabilities or other limiting conditions enjoy gentle stimulation of the primary senses. There is no need for intellectual reasoning. Participants experience self-control, autonomous discovery, and exploration-achievements that overcome inhibitions, enhance self-esteem, and reduce tension. Free from the expectations of others and away from the pressures of directed care, they recuperate and relax.
Research has shown that multisensory environments offer a wealth of benefits, often affording the participant and caregiver an opportunity to improve communications, enhance their understanding of each other, and build trust in their relationship. Snoezelen is a wonderful experience to enjoy and share-a place that replenishes the spirit.
What materials are used in the Snoezelen environments?
- Items to stimulate the visual system such as Bubble Tubes, Fiber Optics, and Solar Range Projectors with Effect Wheels/Cassettes.
- A variety of mats, cushion, and textures that stimulate the tactile system.
- Different sounds to stimulate the auditory systems. Examples including relaxing music.
- Products for the master systems and fundamental targets in Sensory Integration Therapy—proprioception and vestibular motion—such as weighted items, rockers, and swings, and vibratory input.
- Soft furnishings and wall padding for positioning, safety, and comfort.
In addition, a SNOEZELEN MSE often affords an opportunity for the participant and caregiver to improve communication, enhance their understanding of each other, and build trust in their relationship.
Why and how were these rooms implemented at Southeastern?
The rooms were established as a result of Drs. Klein-Ezell and Yates' interest in assistive technology, specialized toys, and sensory environments. This interest led the two professors to begin writing grants to create the Lekotek and Snoezelen facilities on campus. The facilities include a Lekotek play session room and two Snoezelen rooms, specially designed spaces that encourage relaxation and active exploration by children. Through two grants from the Louisiana Board of Regents Enhancement Program, the university is now operating the rooms for families, children with disabilities, Southeastern students and faculty, and the community. This achievement makes Southeastern the first university in the nation to host both highly-specialized facilities.
What is the department using them for?
The Department of Teaching and Learning are using both facilities to:
1. Provide opportunities for hands on/interactive learning for undergraduate and graduate candidates, faculty, teachers, families, and community;
2. Enhance teacher preparedness in the area of autism and developmental disabilities;
3. Recruit and produce superior teacher candidates; and
4. Enhance and expand the resources and community partners to provide a richer environment for learning for our teacher candidates.
How does knowledge of children with disabilities help education students?
It is important for all of our education majors, both general and special education, to have knowledge and skills to provide quality instruction to ALL students. This concept of inclusive practices embraces differentiated instruction (DI) and universal design for learning (UDL). It is imperative that our teacher candidates become effective educators.
What is the history of Snoezelen?
The concept of SNOEZELEN was defined in the late 1970s by two Dutch therapists, Jan Hulsegge and Ad Verheul while they were working at the De Hartenberg Institute in Holland, a center for people with intellectual disabilities. At the Institute's annual summer fair, Hulsegge and Verheul set up an experimental sensory tent filled with simple effects such as a fan blowing shards of paper, ink mixed with water and projected onto a screen, musical instruments, tactile objects, scent bottles, soaps, and flavorful foods. It was a tremendous success, especially with low-functioning clients who demonstrated positive verbal and non-verbal feedback. The therapists called this multi-sensory experience "snoezelen," a contraction of the Dutch verbs "snuffelen" (to seek out or explore) and "doezelen" (to relax).
What types of activities can education students look forward to in the future?
With both Lekotek and Snoezelen, education majors can look forward to volunteering for various activities planned in the future. Education majors can sign up for training opportunities to become volunteer facilitators. Some upcoming plans: ECE 106 teacher candidates hosting "Toddler-Time" for children ages 0-3 one hour/week and providing Snoezelen Sensory Experiences along with story time and sensory activities. SPED 442 teacher candidates will become volunteer facilitators. SPED 210 teacher candidates will participate in Sensory Simulation Seminars.
For more information or to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.