— from the Dutch words snuffelen
(to explore) and doezelen
(to relax). This sounds like a concept we can get behind. Snoezelen rooms were developed in Holland in the late 1970s by therapists who recognized the value of specially designed multi-sensory environments for individuals with developmental disabilities. Since April is Autism Awareness Month, we wanted to learn more about these amazing spaces.
The first Snoezelen room was an experimental sensory tent filled with homegrown sensory experiences, but the Snoezelen concept has matured into an entire school of designing therapeutic spaces. Today's Snoezelen rooms are outfitted with state of the art technology to engage the senses through light, sound, color, smell, textures, and moving images and the body in space. In these safe, client-centered environments, the senses are stimulated to engender autonomous discovery and exploration. The Snoezelen philosophy promotes a sense of well-being, freedom and pleasure, and it has been used with great success for kids with developmental disabilities as well as geriatric patients with neurological impairments. There are thousands of Snoezelen installations in over thirty countries.
Learn More: International Snoezelen Association
(Image: The Creek-Side Snoezelen Centre)