We are creative in providing the children with a wide range of stimulating sensory opportunities and experiences that our children and their families can enjoy during their stays. Multi-sensory stimulation plays a vital role in meeting specialised therapeutic needs for the children who use the services.
How does sensory therapy benefit?
Many of the children visiting our hospices have conditions that affect their senses. Sensory therapy gives children the opportunity to enjoy sensory stimulation or can be used for relaxation purposes.
Each of our hospices has a highly equipped sensory room Lighthouse, Little Harbour; Kaleidoscope, Charlton Farm; Snoezelen, Little Bridge House.
These rooms can be used to stimulate children with severe special needs; these could be impaired vision, having little hearing or ability to speak, poor coordination or impaired intellectual capacity due to neurological degeneration. The stimuli can also help to sooth and quieten an agitated or hyperactive child.
Siblings and affected children quite often come in here together and mums and dads often book this room out for chill out time.
“One sibling came in and made a princess bed to fall asleep with her brother for a couple of hours.”
How does it work?
Each sensory room is made accessible with hoists and features an array of specialist equipment which provide optical, acoustic and tactile stimulation, these include: coloured bubble tubes, fibre optic wall cascades, integrated sound systems, light projection, a touch wall and a water filled mattress.
All the equipment is programmable so that individual children can have their own settings and create an appropriate environment, depending on their need at the time.
Light stimulation equipment can create an atmosphere that is magical and offers the opportunity for a child to utilise their visual abilities by interacting with different beams and sources of light.
Different sounds can also be created using tactile materials such as shakers and music and bubble tubes.
Being outside is a great sensory experience for a child and that’s why gardens are such an important element at each of its hospices. In addition to play areas, the hospices also have specially designed sensory gardens each with a different theme.
For children that may lack some senses, a sensory garden gives heightened awareness of sight, smell and sound and can help to stimulate reactions for children. Being able to enjoy time in a garden is such a simple pleasure which our families when they most need some relaxation and enjoyment.
At Little Bridge House the children are treated to the ‘Narnia’ sensory garden. Based on the C.S Lewis book ‘The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’, ‘Narnia’ is full of features to stimulate the senses; sight, sound, smell and touch, and is a magical place that all the children and parents visiting our hospice can enjoy. It is designed to interact on many levels and even includes a roaring Aslan, crystal icicles and a wardrobe door.
Charlton Farm’s beautiful indoor “winter” garden provides another area of sensory stimulation for the children. We have a bird song and rainforest sound system to create a space for relaxation - a great place for reading stories or for Mum and Dad to have a glass of wine in the evening.
In 2015, Little Harbour saw a new addition to its garden emerge; Mermaids Cove sensory garden. The garden takes our children and families through an interactive sensory journey of stormy seas to calm waters. Mermaids Cove has a sandpit, water sprays, piped sounds of the sea, and a mermaid’s house for storytelling and is laid out in a way that the sensory moments are accessible to all.