The magic word SNOEZELEN was created in the 1970s by combining two Dutch words SNUFFELEN (to smell/sniff, to snoop) and DOEZELEN (to doze). It was created by two civil service workers at a social-care facility in the Netherlands, and was originally used to describe a tent for people with serious handicaps inside which there were auditory, visual, and olfactory stimuli. At the time, similar ideas were also being implemented by experts in the United States and Australia. Today, this concept is being applied practically throughout the whole world. The concept’s beneficial effects can help to improve the quality of life of a wide range of people, including senior citizens with reduced sensory functions, children with severe combined handicaps, and persons with autism spectrum disorders.
Each of us takes in an enormous amount of sensory stimuli every day. We perceive many phenomena and experience many different situations. Although the snoezelen environment is “artificial”, it allows us to carefully plan our activities with the child.
The multisensory stimulation room is outfitted with all of the pupils’ or clients’ needs. We are always on the lookout for new therapeutic forms and methods, and after several years of working with snoezelen, this method forms an integral part of each pupil’s study plan.
In the snoezelen room, we can engage in educational and therapeutic activities, basal stimulation, visual learning, aromatherapy, massages and more. The calm music and diverse sounds from the audio system enable a spatial perception of sound, and the subdued lighting, whose colors the child can change itself, combined with UV lighting effects, water bubbling in a vertical cylinders, an illuminated ball pool, plasma lamp and fiber lights combine to create a stimulating atmosphere. The teacher works either individually with one pupil at a time or in small groups. The snoezelen room is also a highly popular place for relaxing between demanding activities during the day.
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