What Is A Multisensory Environment?
The Multisensory approach to therapy was developed in Holland in the 1970s by Jan Hulsegge and Ad Verheul while working at the De Hartenberg Institute in the Netherlands. It is based around the premise that the environment around a client has to be both soothing and stimulating. These multisensory environments can be filled with a range of sensory products and equipment, which are used as a therapy for those suffering from a range of conditions such as autism and other issues such as sensory development disorders, brain injuries or those with dementia.
One of the innovative things about the multisensory therapy method is the way it puts the user in control as opposed to the therapist. A multisensory environment can be focused on one sense or multiple senses, the user’s needs are taken into consideration and the therapy is tailored to suit this.
Unlike many types of therapy, there is no focus on a formal outcome from using a multisensory environment. Instead, it is hoped users get the most pleasure out of the experience. Another key factor of how the multisensory environment works is the importance of the interdependence between the environment and the user.
The Benefits of a Multisensory Environment.
There are a number of benefits to using a multisensory environment in your treatment of those with a variety of sensory conditions, some of these include:
- Improved behavior and mood – because the focus is on the user gaining pleasure from the experience rather than learning something specific, then a multisensory environment will help to boost the user’s mood. Also, the non-threatening nature of the multisensory environment increases relaxation, which lowers the instances of undesired behaviors.
- Better self esteem – One of the ancillary benefits of having a self-directed session in a multisensory environment, where there is no "right" or "wrong", or no "success" or "failure" to achieve some arbitrary goal, is that users can experience their own "success" in how they feel. Additionally, the strengthening of bond between caregiver and patient all lead to greater sense of self and self-esteem.
- Improved Communication – the multisensory experience improves the user’s ability to communicate with those close to them such as their carer as it lowers their fear and enhances trust.
- Multi-functional – the way that a multisensory experience is tailored to each individual user, means that different people will see different benefits. This makes for it being a great therapy for people with various abilities and conditions such as dementia, brain injuries and autism
- Suited for all ages – the multifunctionality of a multisensory environment means that they are suited a variety of ages. They are just as suited to a preschool as they are to a care home for the elderly.
These are just some of the benefits that a multisensory environment can offer, however a lot are anecdotal. Each individual case is different and different users will take something different from their experience. As sensory experts, Experia have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to creating a multisensory environment for the needs of those in your care. We can help you provide an environment that will help you produce positive results for those in your care.
Contact Experia today and get more information about why a multisensory environment is the right sensory solution for you!