In my Children with Special Needs course, we will visit several Danish schools and facilities that serve students with disabilities. My professor, Eeva Jakobsen, planned numerous Field Studies for our 3-week-long class. I am so grateful she is adamant about providing opportunities for us to experience what we are learning in the classroom firsthand.
Our first Field Study was to the Snoezelhuset Multi-Sensory House. Snozelhuset was about a twenty-minute train ride from our DIS classroom. Snoezelen is a Dutch word and is composed of two words that mean “sniff” and “dozing.” Snoezelhuset is a Multi-Sensory house dedicated to providing residents of the municipality–mainly children–with sensory experiences and rooms to regulate sensory processing issues.
In class, we learned about Snoezelhuset’s impact on students with special needs. Many students have weekly appointments and visit Snozelhuset before going to school. I loved that Snozelhuset emphasizes that everyone can use the house, whether you have special needs or not–it is a resource for everyone. Each room in the sensory house offers different controlled stimuli that help children cope with sensory processing issues. For example, children with under-active stimuli would use the Red Room.
The intense vibrations and loud music in the Red Room help wake the children up and support their motor development. Families who live within the municipality can visit Snozelhuset for free. If you can’t afford the cost and you live outside of the municipality, you can request aid from the government.
My favorite room was the white room. The room had a large, heated water bed with speakers that created vibrations that matched the soothing music and help to promote body perception. There was a large hammock in the center of the room, a glittering chandelier, and projections of calm scenes on the white walls. You could sway in the hammock or sprawl across the bed to experience the room. My classmates and I wanted to lay in the water bed all day.
I am amazed by Denmark’s dedication to providing accessible facilities that benefit people with special needs. I wish the United States prioritized funding similar institutions for people with disabilities.
I look forward to visiting two different Danish Schools and a Forest Kindergarten next week!