The Multi Sensory Theatres are specifically designed environments, which enable people with a disability to enjoy a very wide range of sensory experiences for therapy, learning, relaxation and fun. The concept is to create events which focus on particular senses such as touch, vision, sound, smell, taste and movement. These theaters offer a unique service, free of charge to clients having special needs, whether physical, intellectual, emotional or behavioural. The service is offered regardless of age. On average the MST is being booked for 450-500 sessions per month – each session lasting one hour, with the majority of clients attending once a week. Clients attending include children with special needs as part of the Winter Programme or Summer School and clients which are part of the Inspire Adult programmes, the Adult Training Centre’s (ATCs) as well as individual clients that attend with family members, carers or support workers.The service is run by two Occupational therapists, Paula Doumanov (MST Coordinator & Therapy Services Manager) & Georgia Henderson. However, the input of volunteers is essential to the smooth running & quality of the service provided.Inspire takes this concept a step further; by providing an environment to facilitate the development of cognitive and sensory skills in a structured and inter-active manner. It gives people control, possibly for the first time in their lives. It enables people with any degree of disability to change and influence their environments in a positive way. What is also important, is that clients carry out sessions in an environment free from the pressure to perform.
Different Types of Environment
The MST consists of 3 rooms each offering its own sensory experience. Different needs require different approaches to care and as such different approaches and application of the Multi-Sensory environment (MSE).
Who can benefit from a Multi Sensory Environment?Any individual can benefit from the properties that a Multi-Sensory environment can provide. However it must be noted that for some individuals Multi-Sensory may not be appropriate as it can confuse and frighten, leading to aggression, agitation and mistrust. It is important to minimize the propensity for this to occur by creating a nonthreatening environment, but also to monitor closely the reaction of individuals, keep records and follow good practice when using any type of environment.
The Multi Sensory Environment
Offers many different roles and out lined below is just a selection of what they can be used for:• Stimulation of all the senses - sight, sound, touch, taste and smell• Opportunity for emotional development• Enhance communication skills• Develop social and interactive abilities• Minimization of some challenging behaviours• Development of choice - enabling user control• Tracking skills• Development of self - determination• Hand-eye co-ordination skills• Fine and gross motor skills• Sound and music therapy• Facilitation of aromatherapy, reminiscence, reflexology and other therapies• Physical exercise and play• Enable relaxation - reduce stress, tension and aggression• Provide an appropriate environment for assessments• An area for theme-work and story-telling activities