In brief, a Snoezelen Room is a very structured space that has very specific equipment designed to create not only an atmosphere of relaxation but also of gentle stimulation.
The lighting is dim yet comprised of ever changing colours. Materials and manipulatives can be brightly coloured but the texture is soothing to the touch or tacitly stimulating. It seems to be a paradox but while having a calming effect, the environment encourages exploration and wonder.
It is a safe environment that is non-threatening with the potential for non-judgemental discovery. There is no set way to use or manage the material in the Snoezelen room. Appealing to the primary senses, no intellectual capacity is necessary for full enjoyment.
In our Snoezelen room we have:
- Bubble Column is a clear acrylic tube with an air pump and an interior tube for flow both up and down. Several small aquatic creatures and balls follow the path along with bubbles. The multicoloured light source provides an engaging light display that can be active or passive. The children can control the colours.
- Fibre Optics lighting provides a waterfall of light and colour. Strands of lights can lay across the body or be held in the hands.
- Aromatherapy provides pleasing olfactory stimulation with scents of citrus, cloves, juniper etc. for either relaxation or energizing.
- Light Projector provides a colourful “movie” display on the wall.
- Cushioned flooring allows the room to be easily explored and more comfortable for those who are not as mobile.
- Manipulatives made of fur, plastic, wood, textured, smooth, corduroy, vibrating of varying sizes. Strings of beads and strings of lights.
- Music can be changed by the participants in the room but pressing a button on the switch toy that can be connected to a smart phone.
- Accessories include in part weighted blankets, vibrating snugglers, and picture books.
- Black Light Room is attached to the Snoezelen room and provides a different sensory experience. With a glowing wall and decor with vibrant colours that shine in the black light and are ready for manipulation and exploration.
History of the Snoezelen Room
The concept of Snoezelen originated in Holland in the 1970’s. The staff at an institution noticed that there was an issue meeting the emotional and sensory needs of their clients. They felt that ordinary sensory experiences had little effect. Being outside and experiencing the sight and sounds was an agitator rather than a calming experience.
In the beginning they set up a non-directed environment of lights, sounds and sensations that could be used by persons with limited abilities or movement and they would still enjoy them.
Bringing the idea to reality, they created a new word for this innovative concept. Combining the Dutch words for sniffing and dozing, we have Snoezelen, or so it is said.
Kids and adults alike love the lights and sounds in the Snoezelen room. The bubble tube is mesmerizing!