Casestudy: Snoezelen Sensory Room Offers Unique Therapy (English)

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Condell's Pediatric Alternatives in Creative Therapy (PACT), a physical rehabilitation program for children and teens, recently received a grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. The funds will be used to purchase equipment for a "Snoezelen Sensory Room."


Produced by a variety of light projectors and wheels, shimmering fiber optic light curtain and calming music cassettes, the interactive sound and light walls of the Snoezelen Sensory Room provide stimulating opportunities that enhance children\'s awareness of their environment through the senses of sight and hearing, while helping stimulate their motor movements. This multi-sensory experience is also effective in helping children block out distractions, remain focused, and achieve calmness, which is optimal to the progress of therapy.

The idea of the Snoezelen Room began in the 1970's with the help of Holland psychologist Ad Verheual. While working in a center for individuals with disabilities, Verheual began studying how people react to their environments. As his study progressed, he introduced smells, music, touch and taste to those with whom he worked within the center. He also experimented with creating active and relaxing environments. It was through this study that the multi-sensory room was developed.

Verheual then published his findings with colleague, Jan Hulsegge, entitling the book "Snoezelen," which comes from two Dutch words that mean, "sniff" and "doze." As a result of his findings and book, The Snoezelen concept was introduced to various centers across the world. To date, more than 2,200 Snoezelen Rooms in Europe and the United States can be found -- positively affecting adults and children of every age.

PACT is a unique medical support service in Lake County for children and teens with neuromuscular disorders, such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy, head trauma, and spinal cord injuries, as well as those with developmental delay and speech-language disorders. PACT also treats children with genetic and congenital anomalies, structural abnormalities, such as cleft palate, and hearing/vision problems, sensory integration dysfunction and those receiving radiation or chemotherapy treatments.

Staffed with an interdisciplinary team of professionals, including physical therapists (PT), occupational therapists (OT), speech-language pathologists and a social worker, PACT partners with the family, school, physician and community to provide comprehensive intervention, as well as an individualized treatment program for each child.

Monica Cioffi, MS, PT, director of PACT, is looking forward to adding the Snoezelen Sensory Room to PACT's therapy services. "We know that children with unique needs and their families sometimes require special support and attention. The addition of the Snoezelen Sensory Room will help us reach our goal of assessing children and families who are dealing with these challenges, offering support through every stage of a child\'s development," said Cioffi. "The grant from the Ronald McDonald House Charities will strongly enhance our ability to provide the most comprehensive and highest quality intervention, treatment and therapy program for each child that enters our doors."

"Ronald McDonald House Charities is proud to support Condell's PACT program and its Snoezelen Sensory Room. Joining hands to help children and families receive needed care provides light for us all," said Ken Norgan, president of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & NW Indiana.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana supports three Ronald McDonald Houses in Chicago, and makes grants to local not-for-profit organizations that serve children. Since 1987, RMHC of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana has contributed over $9.1 million to over 450 local organizations.

 2002 Condell Health Network. Condell Medical Center, 801 South Milwaukee Avenue, Libertyville, Illinois 60048 .

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