The Snoezelen idea as used in St Vincents
- We have been working in our built up white Snoezelen room over the years. It is an indoor Snoezelen and therefore can be used in all the seasons of the year.
- Recently, we have thought of extending our Snoezelen activities in an outdoor setting and are in the beginning stages of a project in our dog's[ Pam's] grounds.
- Another garden in St Vincent's is : "The Secret Garden". It is a garden already been worked with for many years. Trees, plants, vegetables, fruits and spices have been planted and taken special care of for a long, long time. In short - it is the most amazing sensory garden.
- Our childrens- quarters are undergoing rennovations, and we are snoezeling up some of our new bathrooms.
1. Our built-in Snoezelen room.
Our built-in Snoezelen room consists of a dark corridor and a white Snoezel room. The corridor consists of a tactile wall, shadow lights, magic ball and sound-light organ.
The white room has the bubble corner, the optic fibres, a water-bed, poofs, vibrating cushion, a fireworks display box, a slow film projected across the room and soft background music. We recently added different boxes with smells to sniff at. There is also massage oil available for the use of massages.
2. Our Snoezel Dog therapy Garden. [new]
Over the past few years, we have introduced "dog therapy" to our children. Most of the children are very happy to communicate with our dog, Pam, and over the years, some have become very attached to her.
We had been working in a room inside the building and found we were limited in space and were motivated to improve our conditions in the dog therapy situation.
We decided to "Snoezel up" Pam's garden and take our children for their "dog therapy" to Pam's garden.
- For visual stimulation we are planting colourful plants including creepers with flowers over the fence,we hung discs from the trees, green grass, and our dog Pam herself is a beautiful rusty brown colour - a lovely contrast to the green grass.
- For tactile stimulation we have Pam our cuddly dog, we also have grass, different textures in plants, olive trees, ground [wooden logs which serve as chairs and boundaries
- For olfactory stimulation we have scented plants, spices
- For hearing stimulation we have chimes hanging from the trees, together with all the natural sounds from outside e.g. breezes blowing the trees, birds chirping, our dog's bark
We have some new ideas we still have to put into practice:
- Hanging two hammocks from our trees
- Filling several little plastic swimming pools with different textures e.g.
We were blessed with a new French volunteer, Camille, who is a landscape architect, just at the time when we needed her the most. She will be helping us with designing the garden in a more effective way.
We are also fortunate to have volunteers from all over the world, who are helping us make this "snoezel" garden a wonderful reality.
3. Our Secret Garden.
At the entrance of St Vincents home for the handicapped, behind the wall on the right side, lies the "Secret Garden" of St Vincents, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem.
We can divide the "Secret Garden" into the FIVE different senses:
- TASTE: this is one sense that has hardly ever been used in our indoor snoezel room. In the garden the children have the opportunity of tasting the fruits of the garden - whether they are : red grapes, purple grapes, black grapes, figs, lemons, tomatoes or clementinas, or spices, each fruit or spice has its unique taste and also falls under the category of 'sweet', 'sour', 'bitter', 'spicy' etc
- TACTILE: we have a world of tactile stimulation in the garden - pumpkin, eggplant, lemons, tomatoes, figs, leaves, branches, sand etc etc
- SMELL: lemon, pepper, clementinas, spices, mint leaves etc
- SIGHT: trees, flowers, leaves, coloured fruits and vegetables
- AUDITORY: natural sounds of the garden eg bees, flies, birds, water from the sprinklers etc and in winter - wind, breezes, leaves, rain etc
We have a special pathway to lead the children into the secret garden
The garden has been cared for for a long, long time. Like the inside Snoezelen, in order to keep it in tact, the staff and volunteers have to follow certain "rules of the garden".
4. Snoezel bathrooms.
We are fortunate to have our childrens' section undergoing rennovations. We have decided to "Snoezel up" some of the bathrooms. Each bathroom has a theme, and we are using the theme to create Snoezel bathrooms e.g. From the one bathroom's window, we can see a palm tree and that will be the theme of this bathroom.
Each Snoezel bathroom will have a tape with Snoezel music, a special lighting system, nice bubble soap, a theme painted on the walls which are not tiled by a very artistic Sister, and the tiled walls will pick up the theme on a few of the tiles. We will be hanging either plants or seagulls, depending on the theme.
Hopes for the Future.
We would like to invest in a jacuzy bath which we feel will raise the quality of life for the children in a big way. We hope to collect the necessary funds for this in the near future before we rennovate the second childrens' section.
Results of Snoezelen in St Vincents.
We ourselves are overwhelmed with the unbelievable effect the Snoezelen has on the children and on us all.
Our thanks go to all those who helped it become a reality in St Vincents, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem.
Lenise Leah Epstein
St Vincents, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem