An imaginary and sensory wonderland

Clinical director, Genevieve Sandler in a soft ball pool made to look like bubbles at the new remedial school. Photo: Supplied

King David Ariel, the Victory Park campus’ new centre for remedial education has introduced a Snoezelen room to the campus.

Snoezelen rooms were originally developed in the 70s in the Netherlands. The rooms are multi-sensory environments which offer learners a relaxed atmosphere.

Since the concept was introduced to Israel by Beit Issie Shapiro, some 350 rooms have been established and more than 1 300 professionals have been trained to work in them.

Israelis subsequently have access to Snoezelen rooms as one has access to a cellphone.


Speech therapist, Nicole Smith, in a hanging chair at the new remedial school. Photo: Supplied

The rooms stimulate each of the learners’ senses and provide soothing sounds, captivating aromas, tactile experiences, massage and vibrating sensations and interesting light effects.

Research claims that the rooms reduce 50 per cent of distress and stereotypical behaviour and 75 per cent less aggression and self-injury in the Snoezelen environment.

The room’s environment provides opportunities for interaction and engagement between learners as well as with a team of multidisciplinary therapists and teachers.

The idea behind the room is to sooth learners who need remedial care and those who experience life changes and find it difficult to cope and express their emotions in ways society finds hard to understand.

Restructuring thinking patterns and teaching more mature self-regulatory skills via occupational, play or speech therapy can be a solution.

Teachers and therapists subsequently carry out assessments and interventions.

The environment also enables them to use sensory stories to turn reading and listening into an immersive experience.

The room is also designed for more interactive, imaginative play that allows learners to gain the sensory input they seek.

ALSO READ: Yet another 100 per cent pass rate for King David 

Roxy de Villiers

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