The Snoezelen Room: Specific Disabilities

The Snoezelen Room can be used by anyone, but it is designed for use by people with disabilities and especially children. There are hundreds of Snoezelen Rooms around the world and many are designed for one specific group of people or another. The Snoezelen Room operated by the Council is primarily used by children with disabilities and adults with intellectual disabilities. Around the world, however, Snoezelen Rooms are used with a variety of populations with positive results.

Some examples of the results for different disabilities and situations include:

Aging

One of the central focuses in Snoezelen research around the world has been in its benefits for people with dementia. Although further exploration in this direction of research is needed, there are consistent findings that demonstrate overall success with a wide range of clients. Recent studies conducted in Great Britain and the Netherlands both show positive results of client improvement in cognition, communication, functional behaviour, and overall state of well-being.

Autism

Research done in Brussels studied nine adult individuals with severe autism in a classroom as well as a Snoezelen Room environment. Though individual results varied, the group results showed a fifty percent reduction in distress, and seventy-five percent less aggression and self-injury in a Snoezelen Room setting.

Children with Special Needs

Much research done on Snoezelen Rooms has been in relation to children with special needs. The Snoezelen room provides a safe and accessible place for children to relax - a space far away from the stress of the classroom and the everyday world. In the room children may take control of their environment. The teaching staff at Addlington School in Reading, England stated that they found their Snoezelen room to be an “invaluable resource...useful for a wide range of ages and abilities in a varied curriculum.” In Germany, a 1994 study concluded that children had increased motivation to succeed and demonstrated and improvement in their concentration and eye-hand coordination.

Intellectual/Developmental Disability

All people have the right to leisure and enjoyment. The Snoezelen Room allows people with intellectual/developmental disabilities to seek leisure in an unstructured and undemanding environment. The multi-sensory space transgresses barriers, which traditional forms of leisure activities may impose. Snoezelen allows clients to relax in a nonverbal setting and helps in further self-healing.

Mental Health

The calm atmosphere of the Snoezelen Room allows people who suffer from tension, depression, or anxiety to relax and feel comfortable to express their thoughts and emotions. This kind of release can have further effect throughout the day.

Pain Control

A Snoezelen Room also can provide relief from severe and chronic pain, and may also help women to stay calm and focused during labour. The calm, but also stimulating, environment allows for distraction from pain. This relaxed leisure experience offers a “rehumanizing” effect for those who may not otherwise have ready access to any kind of leisure activity.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

A Snoezelen Room provides a sense of security as well as comfort. The room is a space where children who suffer from traumas of violence, sexual abuse, or the effects of war may feel safe and regain confidence. They become willing to communicate and trust others. Further study has also shown critically ill children to able to engage in deep relaxation and improve their sleep patterns.

Stroke, and Traumatic Brain Injury

A Snoezelen Room creates both a stimulating, as well as calm, environment for the senses. In Belgium, at the University Hospital of Ghent, caregivers worked with young adults suffering from severe brain trauma who showed positive reactions from a Snoezelen Room. The room allows patients to received therapy that addresses both gross-motor capability and emotional needs.