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New Sensory Room opens at Family and Children’s Services

High-tech “Snoezelen Room” designed to help kids with Autism

A special room designed for children and youth with Autism and other sensory processing disorders has opened at the Division Street office of Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox & Addington.

Called a Snoezelen Room, it features a specialized and controlled environment that provides children and adults an opportunity to engage their senses and experience sensory exploration through play. The objective of the Snoezelen Room is to provide a calming environment by eliminating outside distractions and over-stimulation of the senses. It uses visual, audio and tactile tools to enhance relaxation and contemplation. The net result is a unique calming environment, especially for children with certain kinds of sensory processing conditions, like Autism.

“This is a special place where children and youth can go to be themselves. That’s not always easy in our busy, sensory-rich world for kids who have Autism or other sensory disorders,” said Steve Woodman, Executive Director of Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox & Addington. “This room will give them a place to think, learn new things and deal with the stress they face every day.”

Originally developed in the Netherlands in the 1970s, there are more than 1,200 Snoezelen Rooms worldwide. The term “Snoezelen” was created by two Dutch therapists and is derived from a contraction of two Dutch verbs: “snuffelen” – to seek out or explore and “doezelen” – to relax. In Frontenac, Lennox & Addington, there are thought to be only a handful of such facilities. The Division Street room is the newest to come on line. Family and Children’s Services will be offering the room to community partners and members of the public who are experienced using a sensory room.

"“We’re very pleased to offer this room to our many partners in the community for their use. Our clients and theirs will both benefit. We also hope that the sensory room will be used for research that will benefit the wider Autism community,"” said Woodman.

The Snoezelen Room was built with a $12,700 grant funded through the 2012 City of Kingston and United Way Community Investment Fund. Woodman says they are very grateful for the support.

“We want to thank the United Way serving Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington and all of their donors. And we want to thank the City of Kingston. Without their generosity, we wouldn’t have been able to create this valuable community resource.”

The room was created as part of Family and Children’s Services’ ongoing commitment to providing developmental services to children and youth challenged with developmental delays and other special needs.

About Family and Children's Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington

Family and Children’s Services is a Children’s Aid Society that has been serving this region for more than 100 years. It underwent an amalgamation in April 2012 when the Children's Aid Society of the City of Kingston and County of Frontenac merged with Lennox and Addington Family and Children's Services. The agency protects children suffering from abuse or neglect and helps families in crisis stay together.

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