Mainstream Living

Sensory Program

The Center offers three types of day habilitation programming, each of which has a different focus for our members. The Sensory Program, formerly known as “Snoezelen” opened in the summer of 2011.  It is a multisensory, non-directive environment meant to stimulate and sooth the members. Each area of the program has a different focus, designed to deliver stimuli to all senses of the body. Mainstream Living Activity Coordinators are able to change lighting, sound, and scents in the various rooms to alter the experience for each member. Fine and gross motor activities are implemented throughout the day to provide members with a varied experience. 

This program differs from the two other day-hab programs as it creates an environment where members experience choice with each activity through action. Although staff may offer activity options, the member is ultimately able to choose what is interesting, pleasing or relaxing. If a member would like to spend time in the black light room, reclined in a chair, listening to music and running their hands through a fiber optic spray, they certainly may!

Andrew Gomez, Team Leader at Center, has worked hard to develop the program from it’s original inception. Over the years, Andrew and his team have discovered that the highest dollar equipment may not be the most utilized items.  He has found that adaptations to everyday items may create the greatest response for some members. Andrew notes, “E.O. Wilson is credited as saying ‘Our brain is mapping the world. Often that map is distorted, but it's a map with constant immediate sensory input.’ When our members consistently attend the Sensory program at the Center, our staff work alongside each individual.  Our aim is to cooperate with our members so they might communicate with their surroundings and actively map the world through cause and effect, choice, interpretation of body language and micro expressions.”

The Sensory program currently serves 16 members weekly, some of which may visit once a week to everyday, depending on their needs. If you would like more information on the Sensory Program or would like ideas on sensory items that might be incorporated into a member’s home, please contact Andrew Gomez or Amber Schaefer. 

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