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Transforming a Snoezelen Room: Creating Opportunities for Early Communication and Switch Skills

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Finding motivating activities for children with complex communication needs (CNN) who are early communicators, early switch users, and also have low vision can be challenging. The Communication and Writing Aids Service (CWAS) AAC team at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital explored enhancing communication and physical access to existing Snoezelen equipment for clients with CCN, creating Picture-based materials and programming communication software to remotely control some of the Snoezelen equipment. In the pilot study, the CWAS team members identified preschoolers, who were early communicators, early switch users, and many of whom had low vision as a group that might benefit from the Snoezelen environment for exploring and expanding communicative competence. A benefit of the project was to provide clients with CCN, the ability to choose an activity at their own pace and to more independently explore and engage with Snoezelen equipment. The Snoezelen environment provided motivating opportunities to develop early communication and switch skills for clients for whom participation may be limited in other more typical environments. Success with the preschoolers with CCN lead to using the switch-adapted Snoezelen room with a greater number of CWAS clients, including clients with acquired brain injuries. In an effort to build community capacity, a portable system was created to take to our clients in their community environments. This allowed us to demonstrate switch access to Snoezelen rooms with our community partners.


Elizabeth Baird    
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Jennifer Mays    
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Ari Rivera    
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitaiton Hospital


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