HDCEL Conception of Snozelen

We firmly believe that the conception of the Snozelen environment at the Halifax Developmental Centre was the beginning of a wonderful and unique learning curve for all involved with this Centre. The introduction of Snozelen to our Centre has taken us in a new direction that has had substantial benefits to not only our children, but to the entire population of persons who have different learning styles. 

On May 20, 1994, Halifax Developmental Preschool opened the first fully installed Snozelen Room in Atlantic Canada and the 10th in Canada. As well, we are the only facility to also include a Soft playroom in the Snozelen environment. After seeing another Snozelen room, it became our vision to add a Snozelen/ Soft Play Environment to our facility. This would be a novel and unique approach to teaching children who have diverse needs. Since we are known as a progressive and innovative center, installing these two rooms in our Centre seemed to be the natural thing to do. 

The original two rooms were installed after receiving $10,000 each from Ronald McDonaldss Childrens Charities (RMCC), and the IWK External Grants Program. We have grown leaps and bounds over the years since the conception of Snozelen. Over the years, a lot of money and vision went in to the two rooms. Today, there is a fully installed Snozelen Room and a Soft Play Room with over $100,000 invested. 


The positive effect of the Snozelen room on any child is remarkable. Time spent in a Snozelen room has been proven to be advantageous to the user. It improves concentration, alertness, calming behavior, and promotes a better awareness of the room around them. The Snozelen is based in white because white has a calming effect. Once this effect can be achieved, the body is open to other stimulation and experiences. It is most effective because it is a separate room away from the busyness of the real world. 


There has been many research projects done on the effects of Snozelen throughout the world. Since its development in the Netherlands over twenty years ago, Snozelen has been used in an ever-expanding range of educational and clinical settings. In 1999, the White Top Research Unit at the University of Dundee, Scotland undertook the largest and most comprehensive review of Snozelen data ever performed. Encompassing twenty years of carefully documented work in clinics, hospitals, child-care facilities, nursing homes, and psychiatric units throughout the world, this review found positive outcomes in many research projects. These results have helped to establish Snozelen as a sound therapeutic and educational approach. Specific benefits were identified for several essential groups.

Snozelen and Children with Special Needs: Throughout the world, more work has been done with children than in any other area of Snozelen practice. The body of experiential evidence of the benefits of Snozelen for this client group is enormous and continues to grow. In educational settings, Snozelen rooms are being used as "neutral territory", where relationships can be established away from the stress of the classroom. 

Snozelen and Developmental Disabilities: Multisensory stimulation has been one of the most common and successful approaches to learning disability for some time, especially since it was established that sensory work has an impact in the educational, as well as the therapeutic arena. Snozelen is the logical development of well-documented work carried out over many years, taking advantage of new technologies not previously available. 

There is growing recognition of the need of clients with learning disabilities for leisure. The benefits of the nondirective, undemanding Snozelen approach are now both widely accepted and borne out of research. Snozelen is being used in practice as a means of non-verbal communication, as a setting for relaxation and self-healing, and to provide stimulation for those who would otherwise be almost impossible to reach.

Snozelen and Autism: Snozelen has been found effective in working with people with autism or autistic characteristics. Research carried out in Brussels compared the behavior on nine adult clients with profound autism in both classroom and Snozelen settings. Though individual results varied, the group results showed a fifty- percent reduction in distress and stereotypical behavior and seventy-five percent less aggression and self-injury in the Snozelen environment. 

There has also been research done on the effects of Snozelen on mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder, pain control, stroke, brain injury, and aging. As you can see, there have been many research projects around the world that have already established that Snozelen is a proven effective environment working with a wide range of disabilities and illnesses. 

A few examples of the equipment in our 2 White Room/Snozelen and their benefits:

Catherine Wheel: This wonderful visual stimulate is perfect for basis cause and effect. By pressing the switch the child will make the color spokes light up. They can control the speed and pattern.



Bubble Tube: The bubble tube offers a simple and fun form of color and bubble interactions. It encourages visual tracking, focusing and concentration in a calming atmosphere. They encourage touch by being stimulating. The fish in the tube encourage the children to touch, look and concentrate.



Fiber Optic Spray: Is a delightful interaction that awakens the senses. The spray encourages focusing and attention skills. The spray produces a moving light that provides the child with a calming effect.



Sound Therapy: Amazing tool that encourages language and enhances auditory stimulation.



Vibrations: Has great therapeutic benefits. Its gentle tactile input on the individual provides a calming, regulating, and healing effects. Vibration through touch awakens the senses while calming the body.



Sound to Light Wall Panel: Encourages vocalization by encouraging children to make sounds; increases visual attention and helps children understand cause and effect.

Soft Play Room

Did you know that heavy work calms and organizes the body? Crawling, pushing, pulling, lifting, climbing and crashing all provide input to receptors deep in the muscles and joints that provide calming input to the body. 

Providing this type of regular input throughout the day is vital in maintaining a childs sensory needs. Working with a good early intervention team to develop a sensory diet is important. 

The soft play room has slides, climbers, ball pools, swings and more to provide a healthy gross motor experience each day. 

Be sure to drop by and have a tour and experience 
SNOZELEN for yourself!
  Ground FX Projector  
  Large Snoezelen Room  
  Small Snoezelen Room  
  Star Lights In Snoezelen