Controlled multisensory stimulation, or Snoezelen,
is a therapeutic regime for people with severe mental disabilities.
integration therapies have been used in the therapy of patients
with Autism, Asperger's
syndrome and other developmental disorders since the 1970s.
They were developed in the Netherlands and are particularly popular
in Germany, involving exposure to soothing and/or stimulating light,
color, scents and music in carefully controlled environment, sometimes
called a Snoezelen room.
How does Multi-sensory stimulation work?
These rooms are specially designed to deliver
stimuli to various senses, using lighting effects, color, sounds,
music, scents and so on, to address some of the issues caused by
problems. The combination of different materials on a wall may
be explored using tactile senses, and the floor may be adjusted
to stimulate the sense of balance. Ideally, Snoezelen is a non-directive
therapy and can be staged to provide a multi-sensory experience
or single sensory focus, simply by adapting the lighting, atmosphere,
sounds, and textures to the specific needs of the client at the
time of use.
Snoezelen may be beneficial to people with Autism
and other developmental disabilities, dementia, and brain injury.
However, research on these matters is scarce, with variable study
designs. The term “snoezelen” (pronounced like “SNOOzelen”) is a
neologism formed from the Dutch “snuffelen” (to sniff, to snuffle)
and “doezelen” (to doze, to snooze).
Snoezelen as an intervention for Autism and Asperger’s
Multisensory stimulation has been one of many
approaches to learning disability for some time, especially since
it was established that sensory work has an impact in the educational,
as well as, the therapeutic arena. An advantage of Snoezelen is
that it does not rely on verbal communication and may be beneficial
for people with profound Autism, as it may provide stimulation for
those who would otherwise be almost impossible to reach.
There is no formal focus on therapeutic outcome.
Rather, the focus is to assist users to gain the maximum pleasure
from the activity in which they and the enabler are involved.
A small research study carried out in Brussels
compared the behavior of nine adult clients with profound Autism
in both classroom and Snoezelen settings. Though individual results
varied, the study claimed a 50% reduction in distress and repetitive
behavior, and seventy-five percent less aggression and self-injury
in the Snoezelen environment. However there has not been sufficient
rigorous research to establish multisensory stimulation as an evidence-based
Click here for the full
range of Asperger's and Autism fact sheets at www.autism-help.org
This autism fact sheet is licensed under the GNU
Free Documentation. It is derivative of an Autism and Asperger's
syndrome-related articles at http://en.wikipedia.org