The simple pleasure and joys that children experience such as running, riding a bike, and playing in the park on any sunny day, are sometimes not feasible for children with special needs. A Sensory Room can give them those simple pleasures.
A Sensory Room provides new ways of learning using all their senses. It heightens their awareness, provides security and promotes mental and physical relaxation, which helps them realize that they don’t have to feel like they have to be on guard all the time.
These children get to experience how Joy, Happiness and Laughter feels, something most of these special needs children don’t even know exists, because they don’t differentiate nor feel these emotions. Sensory Room stimulates their inner senses. Visualizing lights builds their curiosity which creates emotions. They realize that touching and feeling out a toy doesn’t hurt or bring on pain. The sound of laughter is a pleasant sound and brings out a great inner sensation which exists.
Giulia was not a happy child. Due to complications at delivery, she suffered brain damage. She was always frowning, never smiled, was always guarded and cried a lot. Somehow no matter what we did with her, it never calmed her down. The opposite, she became very stressed and would stiffen up at every sound, especially when you’d want to hold her, she would stiffen up so strong that you could not even fold her legs, her hands would clench into a fist, like she had to protect herself.
Hopital Marie Enfant created a Snoezelen Room for special needs children who had a great sense of difficulties to associate with anyone or needed other forms of stimulation, where the child would feel secure. Giulia was one of these children. With time, patience and perseverance, she learned that life is not about struggling.
The Sensory Room gave her a sense of relaxation, that it was ok to open your hand without clenching it into a fist. Feeling and touching a toy was safe. Lights were calming and not a stress factor. Every time she experienced something new, a toy, sound or light, she would frown and stiffen up at these senses.
With time, she started to smile, giggle, but most of all she started to accept that it was ok for someone to hold her, caress her and hold her hand without being afraid. The teachers succeeded in making her sit without stiffening up, that sitting is a normal thing and not dangerous. Her hearing got better, she did not become stressed at different sounds whereas before she would clench up. She would react when calling her name and look in the direction where the sound came from. She learned to explore and react to all her senses and know that it was all safe and it was also fun.
She taught us to be resilient to what life throws our way. No matter what happens, there is always a better outcome to life.
This is why a Sensory Room is very important, it’s for us parents to enjoy our children’s lifestyle through their eyes, their world.
– Elvira, proud mother of Giulia xo