The Polk County DAC was privileged to host a two-day training on the use of Multi-Sensory Environments (MSE).

The Polk County DAC was privileged to host a two-day training on the use of Multi-Sensory Environments (MSE).

Linda Messbauer is a licensed Occupational Therapist and MSE trainer. Linda travels around the world to teach others how to utilize Multi Sensory Environments to improve the quality of life of those we serve.

What is an MSE room? It is a room that stimulates the senses and increases or decreases the client's arousal level.

The rooms are typically all in white. The use of lights, music, mirrors and vibration works together to stimulate the senses. There are several pieces of equipment in the room. They are turned on one at a time to catch their attention. The level of stimulation is based upon how the client presents.

For example, if someone with Autism enters the room in an excited (or high arousal level) their session would begin with high intensity stimulation. The music would consist of a faster beat and louder volume, and the use of our "solar projector" would utilize one of the more stimulating wheels (used to project light and images throughout the room). The vibration of mats and colors in the ball pit and bubble tubes would have increased intensity.

The staff operating the room would change the color of the lights at a faster rate also.

Once that person begins to "connect" with the stimulation we would gradually decrease the intensity or stimulation level and it is our expectation that the person would also begin to decrease their level of stimulation, and subsequently leave the room in a much calmer state.

The same is true for someone who enters the room with low stimulation. They might present as lethargic or very sleepy.

We would begin the room with low intensity and gradually increase the level of arousal.

The plan would be for that person to leave the MSE room more awake and ready for their day.

It should increase their productivity and quality of life.

We have already experienced many successes with the use of this room.

The purchase of the equipment was made possible through an Otto Bremer Grant and the training was due to a grant provided through the Northwest Foundation.