Little Snoozing in the Snoezelen Room
September 2, 2019
The Snoezelen® (pronounced “snoozlin”) Room at KCC is a special place where amazing things happen – the least of which is napping, despite what the name may suggest. Based on a philosophy that promotes sensory stimulation as a method of relaxation and redirection, the multi-sensory environment is specifically designed to provide both calming and engaging opportunities for people of all ages with autism, sensory impairments or disabilities ranging in severity.
“At KCC, our Snoezelen Room offers a relaxing and grounding environment that helps reduce anxiety and agitation for some students,” says Karolyn Katz, Occupational Therapist with Kayla’s Children Centre. “While others benefit from a stimulating, sensory-rich environment that encourages engagement and communication. We are incredibly fortunate to have such an effective tool on-site to help our students manage anxiety and stress, as well as to engage them physically and cognitively.”
Before KCC made its permanent home at 36 Atkinson Avenue in Thornhill, the Snoezelen Room moved from location to location and has grown with the organization. The newest feature is Sensory Magic which is a projector that connects digitally to the other equipment in the room to create an immersive environment based on individual preferences. For example, if a student is known to appreciate nature, using Sensory Magic, a life-like forest environment can be created complete with colours, sights and sounds, to promote calm and help reduce anxiety or stress.
On any given day during the school year and even more so during summer camp, 10 to 15 students may use the room for a variety of needs. According to Sarg Lemberger, Recreation Program Coordinator at KCC, the benefits of the fully accessible, multi-sensory space are undeniable.
“Our Snoezelen Room is a place where kids can physically, mentally and emotionally let go and you can see the positive effects almost immediately,” says Lemberger. “For those kids who have mobility challenges or those who are difficult to engage, it’s an important and easy place to delight them, stimulate a reaction or encourage them to communicate.”