What is a Sensory Room?
The Sensory Room is known by several names such as Multiple Sensory Environment Room or Snoezelen. Snoezelen originates from Holland and was developed in the 70’s by a psychologist. The word Snoezelen is a dutch name originating from two dutch words snuffelen (explore)and doezelen (relax). When combined these two words are meant to create a description the purpose of a sensory room.
The purpose of this room is to create an environment open to exploration and relaxation. Through welcoming environment, activities, items of interest based on the senses. This means there are items of interest for all 5 of the senses; sight, touch, sound, hearing, and sometimes taste.
The idea behind sensory is that we all use our senses everyday to explore and understand our world. When we find something we like we naturally gravitate towards it and return to it in times of stress. For some this may be a favourite blanket, it could be the smell of our favourite recipe which brings back feelings of contentments and safety. By gravitating towards a favourite sensation we help sooth away our stress and bring it down to a more tolerable level. For some it is difficult to do this on their own and need assistance to accomplish this.
When we have difficulty bringing our stress levels down and they remain at a high level for lengthy periods of time it makes it hard to self regulate (this means that it is hard to realize we are stressed and how to relax). Often in our busy schedules it is easy to forget to check in with our bodies and be aware of how we are feeling. For some it is a new experience to be aware of how their body feels as it is something they have not experienced before.
How can The Sensory Room help?
The Sensory Room is a special place with lots of tools that allow individuals to use their senses. When we are exploring with our senses and we are able to use the ones that we enjoy, we are able to relax. By relaxing we are lowering the stress levels and becoming more self aware. In these moments we can become more aware about ourselves as well as our surroundings. For children these two things allow us to learn both about our bodies (movement) as well as about how we interact with the world around us.
For some people the sensory room is a space for in-depth concentration while for others it is a space relaxation, reflection, and observation.