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Lifestyles for the Disabled Sensory Room
Gift of
The Rosalie J. and C. Daniel Maldari
Family Charitable Foundation
In Loving Memory of
"Nicky Bellino"

Inside View of Sensory Room with Open Door
Projector Screen in Sensory Room
Plaque for The Sensory Room
Picture of Nicky Bellino

Lifestyles for the Disabled, Inc. is committed to providing sensory environments for their participants. Located in the Lifestyles Educational Center is a 20’x20’ room to provide this Sensory Experience. During the 1970s, two Dutch therapists: Jan Hulsegge and Ad Verheul experimented with a sensory tent at the DeHartenburg Institute. The goal was to increase enjoyment and sensory experience for those with intellectual disabilities. The result of a one-weekend fair 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).

Since its conception Snoezelen has evolved and has been proven useful in a multitude of settings. What was once a specialist niche therapy is now commonplace in schools, hospitals, long term care facilities, dementia care units, mental health facilities, churches, community centers, community pools, rehabilitation facilities, and in many households. Snoezelen can aid learning/development, help to relax an agitated person or stimulate and raise alertness levels of someone who has sensory processing disorders. It is helping to improve the quality of life for participants in the Lifestyles program.

Collection of Red Lights on Black Background in Sensory Room
Orange Lighting Elements in Sensory Room

Participants that utilize a Multi Sensory Environment are engaged and have control over the choices that they are making. The auditory, tactile and visual stimulation provides an opportunity to take control in a non-threatening environment. This activity is a stepping point to full time employment for adults. Responding to different stimuli creates an atmosphere that replicates conditions that would occur in the “World of Work”. With the assistance of behavioral therapists an individualized plan can be developed to correspond to appropriate behaviors in the workplace. There is the opportunity to increase social interaction, decrease aggressive behavior and identify productive choices in alleviating stress.

Multi Sensory Environments opens a whole new world for individuals with cognitive and physical impairments. Providing a stimulating environment:

  • Increases concentration and focus
  • Develops or reactivates senses of hearing, sight, smell, touch and taste
  • Heightens awareness and improve alertness
  • Improves cognitive development and increased brain function
  • Leads participants to explore their environments
  • Provides security
  • Allows for an unrestrained atmosphere where participants feel able to enjoy themselves
  • Improves creativity
  • Stimulates the Sensory building blocks
  • Develops a sense of cause and effect
  • Develops language, increases vocalization
  • Improves social interaction
  • Promotes mental and physical relaxation that decreases stress levels dramatically
  • Results in more calmness and lower aggressive behavior
  • Increases the opportunity for choice and self determination
  • Improves communication and sharing
  • Leads to non-responsive participants becoming communicative
  • Provides relief from pain and painful physiotherapy

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