The Sensorium

Where Individuals with Developmental Disabilities Excel

Approach

The level of function achieved by an individual is a reflection of an individual’s environment and the opportunities an individual experiences. For individuals with cognitive impairment the goal of recreation, education and therapy must be either the creation of function where none exists, or improvement of function where it is delayed or inhibited (Robert J. Doman Jr). Multi Sensory stimulation and environments excite the brain, producing functional activity, and also provide enjoyment to the individual.

Sensorium Enrichment is a totally flexible environment which

Ball Pool

  • allows freedom for individuals with impairments to move safely;
  • builds confidence and motivation, increasing learning potential;
  • provides a world of sensory stimulation;
  • encourages relaxation and fun; and
  • enables life skills to be developed through educational, recreational and therapeutic programs.

Design considerations must be based on a number of basic principles, namely that all individuals must be:

  1. Accommodated and provided access throughout the center
  2. Offered tactile, visual, sound, smell, kinetics and abundant sensory opportunity
  3. Offered an array of skill-building gross motor and fine motor activities
  4. Offered learning opportunities for all levels of ability
  5. Offered an extensive array of interactive and empowering opportunities
  6. Provided a selection of small and large spaces for class or one-on-one therapy and work
  7. Given new opportunities for life enhancement outside the individual’s usual frame of reference.

The Sensorium Enrichment Prototype

Sensorium Enrichment TM provides for a dynamic therapeutic, recreational and educational setting in Multi Sensory Environments where individuals with cognitive and physical impairments excel.  Sensorium Enrichment is a Multifunctional Sensory Environment to be used with and by individuals with cognitive and physical impairments such as those with developmental disabilities, cognitive, hearing and visual impairments, learning difficulties, dementia, and autistism. While providing a relaxing/recreational approach, Sensorium Enrichment TMalso provides for physical and kinesthetic exercise, thereby enriching both neurological cognitive and emotional development as well as physical / gross motor development.

The Sensorium Enrichment TM prototypes are public accessible facilities that include:

  • several varying state-of-the-art  sensory stimulation rooms such as white rooms, black rooms, visual rooms, auditory rooms  and a sensory garden to enhance neurological, cognitive development and mobility leading to the advancement of education and recreation for special populations;
  • a sensory pool for aqua-therapy to further develop mobility, cognition, and recreation opportunities. Aquatic therapy takes place in a heated (between 92 and 96 degrees) pool. The warm temperature helps to decrease spasticity, while the buoyancy of the water enables the patient an increased range of motion. This therapy is often used to assist in improving range of motion, cardiovascular endurance, balance, strength, tactile stimulation tolerance, relaxation, ambulation, and pain management.
  • integrated outdoor and indoor play environments to improve mobility, exercise and enhance social inclusion leading to the advancement of integrated recreation. The indoor gym center provides recreation activities such as exercise balls that are often too expensive or too large for individual families to maintain in their household.  The outdoor playgrounds are equipped with wheelchair swings, merry-go-rounds, table top activity sandboxes, etc.
  • Sensory environments built into occupational, physical, and massage therapy rooms to improve the effects of therapy.

Sensorium Enrichment Model:

TM Sensorium Enrichment is a trademark of the Christopher Douglas Hidden Angel Foundation