Return to Press Releases

World leading expert in Multi Sensory Environments (MSE)
visits Canada

Ground-breaking techniques increase brain activity, enrich quality of life

April 23, 2008 - The sensory input we take for granted every second -- seeing, hearing, touching, moving, and more - is vitally important to many individuals challenged with mental or developmental disabilities. Dr. Paul Pagliano, PhD, is an Australian researcher with a passionate interest in making multisensory stimulation more accessible to individuals with disabilities. He will be conducting information sessions in Canada in June, hosted by the Christopher Douglas Hidden Angel Foundation. The sessions will be in Vancouver (9 June), Calgary (11 June), Toronto (12 June) and Montreal (18 June). All sessions are open to the public.

An internationally recognized speaker, Paul has delivered keynote papers and seminars throughout many countries. He has published widely on this topic including the books: Multisensory Environments and Using a Multisensory Environment (David Fulton Publishers, London). He has broad interests in education, including the provision of education services for students with special needs. Paul is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, British Journal of Visual Impairment, Australian Education Researcher, Australasian Journal of Special Education, and others.

Twenty-five years ago, Multi Sensory Environments were used solely for people with cognitive challenges and developmental disabilities. Today they benefit every age and target group from children in nurseries schools, children with special needs to elderly with dementia and Alzheimer's. Relatively new to North America, the MSE concept was recently featured on ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition where the Hidden Angel foundation designed and donated equipment for a MSE.

We live our lives through our senses. The constant stream of data our senses provide helps the brain interpret our surroundings giving us vital tools to survive and thrive. Every moment multi-sensory experiences affect our motivation, attitudes, emotions, learning, physical activities, and our very being. "Disrupting your interaction with the world around and your sensory experiences due to limitations can severely impede development and enjoyment of life. Yet in North America individuals with disabilities often do not have organized, proven methods to exercise their senses, with all the brain activity that can be trigger," says Sandra Fornes, co-founder and executive director of the Hidden Angel Foundation." We know that providing Multi Sensory Environments can improve the health and quality of life of individuals with disabilities, and we are trying to have as many others as possible come to know about this, too."

A Multi Sensory Environment (MSE) is a dedicated space or room where multiple sensory stimulation is used as an educational tool or recreational activity for individuals with severe disabilities in order to increase brain activity and as a result, enrich their lives. These rooms are designed with two goals in mind: to promote intellectual activity and to encourage relaxation. These controlled environments are designed for active or passive interaction, and matched to fit the perceived motivation, interests, leisure, relaxation and/or educational needs of the user.

The average person touches three hundred surfaces every thirty minutes. We barely perceive the extraordinary amount of stimulation bombarding our system, yet we rarely consider how many surfaces a wheelchair-bound, severely involved person touches in the same timeframe, as well as the consequences of such limitation.

"This kind of example can be played out for each of our senses, and for every opportunity that we enjoy to experience our world through this constant stimuli, this is so often unavailable physically and/or cognitively to individuals with severe and profound disabilities," says WB (Bud) Kirchner, Hidden Angel co-founder. "A private struggle to give a person with disabilities what he or she deserves is also a very public battle. We are very excited to have Paul Pagliano come to speak to care-givers and parents across Canada about the benefits of MSE to help conquer this battle."


Christopher Douglas Hidden Angel Foundation (CDHAF) is a registered charitable organization in Canada and the USA. The Hidden Angel Foundation's mission is to promote the use of multi-sensory environments in therapeutic recreation and educational settings with the intent of enriching the lives, health, and social well-being of individuals with cognitive, emotional, and physical impairments. The Foundation's goal is to enable productivity, inclusion, independence and self-determination with a focus on the design, development, and implementation of Multi Sensory Environments. CDHAF supports innovative initiatives that demonstrate new approaches to advance education, recreation and inclusion of special needs populations.

For further information on the Seminar Sessions contact:

Kimberley Clarke
On behalf of the Hidden AngelFoundation

For further information on the Hidden Angel Foundation and MSE contact:

Sandra Fornes
P.O. Box 822886
Pembroke Pines, FL 33082
phone: 305-458-9335

Christopher Douglas Hidden Angel Foundation
P.O. Box 977 Gadsden, AL 35902
phone: 205-313-9168 fax: 205-278-6898

Dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals with
cognitive and physical impairments through Multi Sensory Environments
in learning, therapy, and recreation.

Our Inspirations