Multisensory rooms: How Sensory Rooms fill the gaps!

The human brain receives inputs from the senses to produce and regulate the use of that information like things we touch, see, smell, taste, and hear efficiently to accurately construct meaningful responses.

When the brain cannot integrate the information it receives, the result is an inaccurate model of the environment and an inability to function well in it.

For most people, this is a normal and typically overlooked part of their daily experience. But for an individual with a developmental disorder, including autism, the way the brain processes these experiences can be a major source of distress and discomfort. The responses can be formulated into hyper or hypo Response.

If your child has ever had therapy outside the home, you are probably familiar with sensory rooms.

Sensory rooms can make a big difference in a child’s development. Unfortunately, many families with loved ones who could benefit from a dedicated sensory room often don’t feel they have space or budget to create one.

The purpose of these sensory rooms is to provide a relaxed atmosphere where the person is surrounded by pleasant sensations (unique tactile experiences, relaxing aromas, interesting light effects).

“The autistic brains react differently than expected when given sensory input, either failing to integrate or organize new information appropriately.”

The contents and design of a sensory room or space can — and should be tailored to each individual’s needs because each person with extreme sensory issues will be dealing with different stimuli and have different requirements when it comes to learning to cope with the world around them.

The origin and history of multi-sensory rooms can be traced back to the Netherlands in the late 1970s where psychologists Ad Verheul and Jan Hulsegge developed them as therapy for individuals with severe disabilities.

Originally named ‘Snoezelen’ by the founders, it is now being widely referred to as ‘multi-sensory rooms’ or ‘multi-sensory environments’ (MSE).

Those who can benefit from multi-sensory environments include children and adults with learning differences such as autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual and multiple disabilities, people with brain injuries, dementia sufferers, and people with mental health issues including stress or anxiety problems.

Think and imagine how a simple sensory room can do wonder to your child! In Netherland, they have a full course on which you can learn the basic concepts related to multi-sensory room

If your child is having trouble with sensory integration, you should focus on creating coping skills to deal with stimulating environments rather than trying to change processing. Multi-sensory environments provide a variety of sensory stimulation for people with autism and other special needs. They were first introduced in the 1970s by psychologists Ad Verheul and Jan Hulsegge as a form of therapy designed to help people with intellectual and physical disabilities to stimulate the senses in a safe, controlled environment. By controlling sound, lighting, touch, and temperature, you can help your autistic child to better cope with the world around them.

Also known as a “multi-sensory room,” these safe spaces have been in use since the 1970s, but now that one in 59 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, the need for them is greater than ever. The concepts behind a sensory room have been used by occupational therapists (OTs) for years, but the benefits of a sensory room are so great that more and more people are creating them in their homes or schools as well.

While many people are familiar with the use of sensory rooms for those on the autism spectrum, they can also be utilized for individuals with ADHD, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome, as well as for individuals with a variety of developmental challenges in the area of communication, movement and balance, and social skills.

Who gets benefited with sensory rooms?

Short answer, anyone. While these environments are typically associated with children, individuals of all ages and abilities can benefit from a safe space where they can regulate themselves and renew focus. People are starting to take notice of those benefits, too. Sensory rooms used to only be found in homes, clinics, and schools. Now they can be found in nursing homes, workplaces, and public areas like zoos and museums. The best part of making sensory rooms when you can't bear to make your child outside the home is that you can make the environment on your own to create much sense which is helpful for your child.

Individuals who have sensory integrative dysfunction are often referred to as “sensory seekers or sensory issues .” They may have trouble processing any of the sensory input inability to react to 9 senses present in our body. They may not react with the stimulus or sometimes respond exaggeratedly.

Many individuals with special needs particularly struggle with proprioceptive feedback because many have difficulty with sensory processing and sensory integration.

Individuals often engage in stimming due to the fact that their environment is not providing them with enough sensory stimulation. Sensory rooms provide additional stimulation in a focused and controlled manner.

Children with ASD need lots of sensory inputs to build their to innate needs

  • Children gain access to appropriate sensory stimulation and their bodies learn how to respond appropriately to the stimulation.
  • Sensory rooms can enhance learning through occupational therapy (OT) or adult-directed play, which engages different areas of the brain, leading to improved information retention.
  • Time in a sensory room helps children improve their visual, auditory, and tactile processing, as well as fine and gross motor skills.
  • By providing a sense of calm and comfort, sensory rooms help children learn to self-regulate their behaviors, which ultimately improves focus.


When a child gets agitated, frustrated, or in meltdown, spending time in a dim, calming room where they can be alone and take charge of their emotions is a huge benefit. It depends on what a child needs in the room because a sensory room involves all the things related to the child needs or choices


Some individuals may benefit from using a sensory room alone, sensory rooms can also provide places for them to practice interacting with others. The room contains multiple games which can be helpful for children to socialize with things related to them , or sometimes you can make a group play in the room

Motor Skills Development

Because muscle movement and balance can be a major challenge for those with sensory issues, providing a safe space to hone fine motor skills and practice movement can be beneficial. Equipment that encourages bouncing, jumping, or even core stabilizing activities can help promote this.

Cognitive Development

sensory rooms won’t rebuild the brain, they can be instrumental in teaching your loved one how to process, regulate, and transform to react in different situations. Those with autism, it’s also a great way to help them explore cause and effect as they learn about how their actions influence the world around them. Problem-solving, thinking, planning, and organizing; and for many aspects of personality and emotional building

Sensory Development

By exposing children to sensory rooms, their brain’s complex reactions to things they touch or hearing, motor skills, and balance, as well as their muscle functions, they can learn how to process and control those experiences when they are away from home.

Adaptation For the new environment

sensory rooms can provide a means of "training" for your child to learn how to deal with real-life encounters in a healthy way. For example: sometimes children didn’t like flashlights or led light, sensory rooms have been designed in the way to overcome what is lacking behind in your child.

Try to reduce disruptive behaviors

Meltdowns can be one of the hardest things to deal with as a parent of a child with sensory needs. That's why it is always a good idea to have strategies in place to not only make sure your child's emotional and sensory needs are constantly met, but also to de-escalate if crisis situations do arise.

Because sensory rooms can provide a go-to outlet to reduce stress and anxiety with calming spaces, or channel energy and frustration with purposeful activities and movement, they can be an excellent tool in any parent's toolbox to both prevent and deal with outbursts when needed. The aroma and different types of things kept distracting the disrupted behavior of the child.

It can help fill in the gaps between therapy visits

Let me be clear: sensory rooms should NOT be considered a substitute for occupational therapy prescribed by a trained professional. However, sensory rooms can be an invaluable tool for the "in-between" periods between visits, since they provide children additional opportunities to practice self-regulation.

“Sensory rooms add the flavors to your child it will not work solely without the proper guidance of Occupational therapist and sessions “

Consider discussing with your OT whether a home-based sensory room could be right for your family and can be used as an adjunct with the ongoing therapy!

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