Our house: here we live and work and raise four children and a dog. Our house contains bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen. Basically everything that most regular houses contain. But, as a home for children with special needs, it also contains special areas for therapy such as a Snoezelen room, and a playroom. In this post we will review our “therapy zones” so you can get some snoezelen room ideas.
Full disclosure: links marked with an asterisk (*) lead to Amazon.com. However, we purchased a lot of the marked equipment through “Shikumit” a local company. If you are seeking quality snoezelen room ideas, it’s best to check with local suppliers.
Building a Snoezelen Room at Home
I was recently asked to photograph our Snoezelen room for ideas. And I took the chance to take pictures of our other therapy zones. In this post I will explain how we use each room.
Our sensory stimulation room is built in the Snoezelen style.
It is not easy to set up a Snoezelen room at home. It is both very expensive, and you have to sacrifice an entire bedroom. Another bedroom could have allowed one of our children more privacy. Or perhaps gone to another purpose such as our business needs.
We are parents to four special needs children: Three autistic boys, two with epilepsy, and our daughter with learning disabilities who has trouble dealing with having disabled siblings and no sisters.
We spend a lot of time in this room.
It helps us deal with difficult emotional reactions, and sensory overload. The caregivers who come to our home often use this room to receive more focused attention.
What does Our Snoezelen contain
The Bubble Tower
- Produces color-changing lighting
- A consistent white noise comes from the bubble pump
- It Mesmerizes and draws attention with the shimmering bubbles and colorful plastic fish that rise and fall.
In the picture, you can see that the platform is cluttered and it’s a shame. It makes it hard to reach his mirrors, to play with our reflection, and embrace the tower.
Many times I actually only activate the bubbles when I try to put Dov to sleep.
Small bubble fish tubes* can be purchased online. This is fine if you are on a tight budget. However, they are not suitable for developmental work with roudy children who may drop them.
Heated Water Bed + Light Remote
The heated water bed:
- You can lie down, relax, and let the heat release the muscles and joint pain.
- You can lay the child down and create a wave movement. Great for when you want to work on the vestibular system.
On the bed, you can also see a white round electrical device with buttons. This is a remote that allows you to control the colors of the bubble tower and the fiber-optic curtain’s lights. You can work with them on learning colors, (the remote also speaks), and on the ability to understand that there is a reaction to our actions.
Most of our equipment like the remote was purchased through “Shikumit” a local company from the Rompa catalog.
Sound-to-light converter*: our wall panel plays music and reacts with the lights.
When we can speak into the microphone we can see how our voices activate the light squares. Try to talk softly to only turn on a few lights. Or we can shout to try and turn on as many squares as possible.
Unfortunately, as you know, children do not come with a mute button. But this allows us to work on teaching them to regulate the volume of their voices.
Rotating Image Projector
Rotating image projector: The projector rotates a disc of butterflies or other discs. The projector can be rotated to project onto the walls, ceiling, or floor.
Besides it being something else that catches the eye, you can use your imagination and create a variety of activity activities: “Catch a butterfly by color.” “How many there are?” “What do you see in the picture?” and more.
For those who have the budget you can try a cheaper image projector*. If you can splurge, try an interactive projector from Amazon*, or from Rompa.
Fiber-Optics Curtain and Swing
In the center of the room, there is a hook in the ceiling on which hangs the swing* in the picture. This can be replaced with other types of swings if available.
Behind the swing you can see a Fiber-Optics Curtain* glowing red. Colors change automatically or controlled with the remote mentioned above.
The curtain also allows sensory work: You can touch and play with a single fiber or run your hand over all of them. You can wrap yourself in the fibers or hide behind them, and more.
Important: A fiber optics curtain needs to be hung securely. It is an important element when thinking about Snoezelen room ideas. And it has to be able to support roudy children trying to swing from it like Tarzan. And they will try it no matter how much you tell them not to!
Our play-room contains:
- A children’s table for arts and crafts, board games, and building in Lego. (We try to have all the equipment hidden in the closet).
- hammock swing*
- TV set
- reading books
- and more.
And all of this can be closed behind the window and so we can enjoy a slight noise reduction. 😉
You can almost see our dog Moon behind the swing.
The backyard: we found an apartment with a large and luxurious (at least for this neighborhood) backyard. We inflating a pool in the summer. The trampoline works overtime. And the kids love the monkey-bars*.
I don’t know if you see it, but there is a vegetable bed on the left. This is another educational tool.
The Harry Potter Room
Call it the “Harry Potter” or “Narnia” room depending on your associations. It’s a small room under the stairs, which used to be a storage closet. But recently Shira organized seating areas in there.
The children come in to read a book alone, play board games, or role-play together. This is probably also the biggest attraction for friends who come to visit.
Dov’s Play Area in the Livingroom
Dov’s corner in the living room. The baby games that keep Dov busy are on the shelf under the TV. Underneath, there is a soft play pad from our old snoezelen room. (Kids fall a lot in our house, so the padding comes in handy).
I took the photo from Shira’s throne. Don’t tell her, please.
In Conclusion – How to Use a Snoezelen Room
Our home should be a place that soothes the senses. We chose unique equipment to help our children develop. There are many other options but the budget and space are limited. You can’t go too crazy.
In the article I put some links to identical or similar equipment from the Amazon website. If the price of a professional snoezelen room is too much, you can start with cheaper ideas. If you can’t spare a whole room, you can try to create a sensory stimulation corner in the child’s bedroom, for example.
You are welcome to contact us to consult on how to bring elements of a treatment room into the home.
It takes a village to raise a child
I recommend looking for support groups with experienced special needs parents. For this purpose, we have opened another Facebook group for parenting skills. This is in addition to our Stem cell therapy support group for families looking for information about the treatment based on umbilical cord blood or stem cells. Both of these groups are mainly for Hebrew speakers but you are welcome to join if you think it can benefit you.
For those who are not active on Facebook, join our silent WhatsApp group, where you will receive notifications about events we organize. Again most of these will be in Hebrew, but you can catch the odd English lectures. You can find recordings of these on our youtube channel.
There are many experienced parents in social media groups. You are also welcome to contact us of course for parental guidance or any of our other services.
The Autism Essentials Israel blog is written by Hagai and Shira Reiner, two parents of children with special needs – autism, epilepsy, and more. We focus on the essentials of raising special needs children in Israel, but much of our content will be relevant globally
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