Mark Lyczewski from Bremer Bank presented Jo Bittner and Lonnie Quigley-Chapman with a $24,000 check to utilize towards their new Multi-Sensory Environment (MSE) room. A multi-sensory environment is a room set up to stimulate the senses. It is filled with mirrors, bubble tubes that light up and change colors, projectors that project images or paint swirls onto the white walls. Music and vibration mats are also used along with a clear ball pit which vibrates and absorbs light.
This room can be utilized for someone who needs stimulation. Perhaps a woman has Alzheimer’s and is a bit lethargic; this room could be used to wake her up. For a person like this, we would start with low stimulation and gradually increase the intensity of the music, the speed of the vibration and the speed of the rotation of the projector. We would elevate the level of stimulation enough to get a person to take deep breaths and increase her awareness of the room. For the man who perhaps has a diagnosis of Autism or Aspergers and might arrive over-stimulated, we need to start the room out at a high level of stimulation and then gradually decrease the intensity so he begins to calm along with the decreasing dynamic in the room.
The EGF Polk County DAC has had a similar room in operation since 2010 and has experienced huge successes. This room adds to the quality of life for our clients. If they are able to attend to task because they have been helped to calm or if we have assisted in increasing their level of awareness of what’s going on around them, we have helped them tremendously.
Multi-Sensory Environments have been utilized in the Netherlands for forty years. Just as chiropractics were considered “voodoo” not so many years ago and are now fully covered by insurance, Jo Bittner, the Executive Director, believes that MSE rooms will soon be covered by insurance. It is a form of therapy that has been successful for many individuals with differing needs.