Evolution of the Legacy of a Hidden Angel

The 2021 New Year continues to bring positive changes within the Christopher Douglas Hidden Angel Foundation (CDHAF).

We are extremely proud of the pioneering role we played many years ago in bringing multi-sensory environments to North America and raising their profile over the last two decades. Today throughout North America, more and more charities are providing funding to organizations wishing to implement these multi-sensory environments for children and adults with special needs. While this decreases our need to fund rooms we are also excited that this will allow us to be more involved in providing guidance and training in the area of MSEs.

Over the years our namesake, Chris has been the driving force behind the numerous initiatives to enrich the lives of individuals with special needs by providing:

  • • Design and financial support for over 100 MSE rooms
  • • Intellectual property for the development of a program for premature babies
  • • Equipment and expertise for the use of MSE with seniors challenged by dementia / alzheimers
  • • Online training focused on MSE methodology and best use practices
  • • Donations to support food for special needs children in impoverished areas
  • • Formation and co-management of an unprecedented program to train first responders in dealing with individuals with special needs
  • • Developing companion pets through sensory stimulation and life experiences
  • • Design and construction of the first MSE environment designed for individuals with special needs that incorporates life without limits and nature as the sensory component
  • • Ongoing support for a playground designed for individuals with special needs
  • • Provided Multi Sensory Room on Extreme Makeover Home Edition to the Craft Family (Hondo, TX)

The preceding and the following illustrate the multifaceted legacy of an extraordinary young man who, to quote Kubler-Ross – “taught us love is the true meaning of life”.

As we move on from the funding and installing of multi-sensory rooms (as the support from others grows), the foundation will continue to exist as an open knowledge-based organization providing guidance to facilities wishing to implement a multi-sensory environment (MSE) for children and adults with special needs.

The Foundation website will become an informational and training tool to provide research-based methodology and information, including MSE concepts, MSE designs, equipment uses, MSE benefits, and operational training.  Organizations looking for funding will be directed to other charitable organizations that support the use of multi-sensory environments in education, recreation, and therapy.

In addition it will provide a free online training program to provide knowledge on best practices and the overall philosophy of MSE based on decades of hands on experience.

The sister organization to CDHAF, Hidden Angel Companion Pets will also be providing information on the benefits of companion pets for children with special needs and best practices in raising a pet to be a natural companion animal. Pets provide therapeutic benefits such as companionship, love, humor, play, exercise, a sense of power and outlets for displacement, projection and nurturance; Talking to animals and the tactile experience of petting animals reduces stress and enhances physical health (including lowering blood pressure and reducing heart rate) and longevity; Animals enhance psychological development, improve social skills, increase independence, and increase self-esteem; Animals can be a source of comfort and contribute to ego strength among children; The human-animal bond supports empathy development, the ability to form and express attachments, and the reaction to grief and loss; and Dogs help increase activity among those with disabilities, prevent childhood obesity, promote recovery after a heart attack, and encourage walking in the elderly.

Looking ahead, those of us committed to Chris foresee many more initiatives reflecting his life and impacting the lives of others.