Snoezelen in Maria Bildhausen

Manuela Trescher

The Dominikus-Ringeisen-Werk is a facility for adults with mental disabilities. In 1997 we were able to open our first Snoezelen room, funded by the general management and donations.
As the facility is hosting a range of training courses and seminars for ISNA's "Additional qualification Snoezelen" 4 further smaller Snoezelen rooms have been installed within the different living quarters.
In addition to that we are very pleased to have a small Snoezelen corner in one of the houses which the carers like to visit. It has proven to be a popular meeting place as part of everyday work life. In social therapy groups the room is mainly used for "free Snoezelen", Kerstin for example likes it when she is allowed to listen to "her" music at a volume she chooses. But in the so-called white room she also wants to relax but in her own special way. She also loves and enjoys other activities, such as activities to promote body perception, when a carer is with her.
Usually the sessions offered by the facility are planned around particular topics such as 'autumn'. Materials such as leaves or chestnuts which can be felt, smelled and touched, along with specifically selected music - often with an added wall picture fitting the them - support the relaxation process. The sessions are generally adapted to the client and his/her individual wishes and interests as well as his/her disabilities. Especially when working with severe and multiple disabled people the focus on the body and the intense body perception are a priority. In the workshop for people with disabilities in the vocational training centre a wide range of subjects are addressed which are also transferable to everyday life. During more active Snoezelen sequences we select stories or fairytales. By using these we are trying to relate to courage and tolerance or to show the way for a fresh start. Further focus lies with selected stimuli and the promotion of the individual senses. A longer concentration phase is usually followed by relaxation with music to allow disabled people to rest. Often these phases have to be introduced gently and taught. It can be observed that perceptive ability in general but also self-perception and perception of others improve.
In residential groups or during structured day visits carers cater to the needs of the individual person with particular focus on body perception.
The Snoezelen corners can be used by the residents at any time for "free Snoezelen". Seating and lounging elements allow the clients to get comfortable and take in the surroundings. Dimmed lighting and various light sources invite the clients to simply rest and dream. Specifically selected music promotes wellbeing. A wide range of materials to promote sensory perception takes the preferences, wishes and biography of the individual resident into consideration. The mobile Snoezelen-trolley has become an indispensible addition and is specifically used in the rooms of the residential groups. The trolley allows us to make the therapeutic oriented offers accessible to our immobile residents. It allows us to select scents or music particularly suitable to wake memories. Massages and scented oils stimulate body awareness.
Every two years we redecorate our swimming pool based on different themes such as "the jungle" or "the ice age". Clients and guests of our facility are always amazed about the effect the pool can have once it is renovated with very simple means. The unique experience allows us to address the senses of our residents in a simple and playful manner. In addition to that many people have lost and overcome their fear of water.

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