Breakthrough in Snoezelen

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We were delighted to start off the New Year with the launch of our first training program on Snoezelen Controlled Multisensory Stimulation, in Miami. The course, which was hosted by the Trump International Institute of Continuing Education, has been an incredible breakthrough for all the people who will benefit from the innovative treatment.



How it all happened is an interesting story in itself. When Naomi Stuchiner was in Miami for the shiva of our very dear benefactor, Willie Trump, she met Dr. Gillian Hotz, who directs the Pediatric Neurotrauma Program at the University of Miami School of Medicine at the Jackson Memorial Hospital . Dr. Hotz indicated her interest in collaborating with Beit Issie Shapiro with a view to ongoing staff training and research.

When things move at Beit Issie Shapiro, they certainly move fast! Not only did the plan come to quick fruition, but Michele Shapiro, who directs our Snoezelen program in Israel, accompanied by Mona Julius a physical therapist, were soon on their way to Jackson Memorial, where they presented their first training program in the USA.

Although there are Snoezelen rooms in the USA , the tendency has been to set up and equip the room with accessories without understanding the philosophy and therapeutic orientation underlying its use. Yet, it is this philosophy that makes the facility a therapeutic tool and not simply the latest fad.


Michele Shapiro, M.Sc.Ot. and Mona Julius, B.Pt., who taught the first Snoezelen Training Program in the Joint Jackson Memorial-Trump International Institute of Continuing Education Training Program


Michele Shapiro, M.Sc.Ot. and Mona Julius, B.Pt., who taught the first Snoezelen Training Program in the Joint Jackson Memorial-Trump International Institute of Continuing Education Training Program




{mospagebreak}The new program at Jackson Memorial is a breakthrough in spreading the treatment philosophy underlying controlled multi-sensory stimulation.

What attracted Michele to the Snoezelen methodology, some years ago, was the hope it offered children with severe sensory disturbances  many of which seem to be at the root of the stereotypical and sometimes bizarre mannerisms of kids with special needs. She was looking for a way to communicate with these children, interest them in their surroundings and elicit their participation in the treatment relationship.

Indeed, she soon discovered that the Snoezelen method provided her with a potent tool for reaching children - especially those who could not communicate verbally. As Michele puts it: "Snoezelen treatment comprises two elements  both of which are important. Although it takes place in a specially controlled multi-sensory room, it requires the mediation of an "enabling" therapist, to work its magic. It is within the context of the special client-centered relationship that develops, that children become more responsive in the Snoezelen."

Michele's groundbreaking empirical research on the efficacy of the Snoezelen in the reduction of maladaptive behavior and facilitation of adaptive behavior in children with mental retardation, was published in The British Journal of Developmental disabilities in 1997. Since then, her interest in the effects of sensory stimulation on behavior have led her to further research, notably into the effect of fluorescent lighting on well-being


Graduates proudly display their certificates







Snoezelen methodology has sp read throughout Israel , holding out hope for many different populations with special needs. Today it is used with great benefit for children and adults - there have been some remarkable breakthroughs in re-awakening people with Alzheimer's who haven't communicated for years. Under the aegis of the Trump International Institute of Continuing Education in Developmental Disabilities, Snoezelen practitioners all over Israel have been trained and today there are over 160 facilities in the country. A worldwide Snoezelen Association has been formed, at which annual conferences are held and new research is presented.

The joint training program between The Trump International Institute of Continuing Education in Developmental Disabilities of Beit Issie Shapiro and Jackson Memorial, heralds the beginning of a professional partnership which will include training for Miami professionals in the Snoezelen methodology, collaborative research and educational programs which will stimulate greater interest in the effects of environmental and relationship factors in improving the lives of people with special needs and helping them cope with many different problems.


[ Read also: \'A room for the Brain\' by Gillian Hotz, Ph.D. -Clientgroeps/brain injuries/sence stimulation,or click here ]

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