Linda Messbauer and Janice Ryan, both Occupational Therapists and AAMSE...
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Linda was asked by one of the vendors to write a short article on the topic...
Designing Your Own MSE Room for Treatment
Linda has put up a very important new article that addresses many requests that she has had in regards to getting started with Multi-Sensory Environments. She is proud to offer this first-in-a-series Guide to Designing Your Own MSE Room. We hope you take the time to read through this piece, and to send an email if you have any questions!
One of the most important aspects of a Multi-Sensory Environment is a Control Center for following a Treatment Protocol to facilitate change.
A Control Center is defined as an area as you go right through your door that can house the following:
- A dimmer switch that controls your overhead normal lighting in the room; preferably recessed lighting; not florescent lighting that is harsh... the idea here is to mimic Mother Nature, at sunset and sunrise, the natural way we go to sleep and rise in the morning… this allows the practitioner to bring a person into darkness slowly… as the other MSE equipment is turned on slowly allowing someone to adjust comfortably…
- A bank of electrical switches one for each piece of MSE equipment which will turn on and off the equipment in a sequence preferably going around the room left to right (the way we read) and being connected to the most important attention getting piece of equipment first.. (Usually the Bubble tube)... If you have more than one Bubble Tube, then each one should be on its own switch.
- The last switch on your bank of switches should be dedicated to the Motorized Mirror Ball… This is so it cannot be accidentally turned on and send too much sensory input to someone… with that said it will be used to change arousal levels for those who require it; so it is necessary.
- A rolling cart with some storage space that will house the Optikinetics 250 Solar projector and its accessories; And will allow enough space to put your music source on; stereo … both of these items are plugged into an electrical outlet directly to the wall and is not on a switch…this is to be controlled by the practitioner…the idea here is that the controlled visual and auditory input are used to change arousal levels
- The placement of the Projector on the cart must allow it to turn, put the image on the floor and on the ceiling… usually this means near the front edge of the cart so the cart does not interfere with this operation/function…The idea here is that the Trained Practitioner will actively use the projector, starting at where the client is at and engage them first unconsciously to bring about focus and abilities to engage or re-engage the client themselves… this is why you want to be able to move the projector and the cart itself…(see article; Changing Arousal to Relax, Re-Energize, and Refocus by Linda Messbauer)
Note: Some vendors make carts/cabinets available which include the music source, 250 projector and have the ability to attach vibro-acoustic equipment, another important piece of a MSE; it triggers the Relaxation Response and can be used to increase arousal.
No matter what your budget is; Advanced planning will either enhance your ability to make changes with your clients or hamper your efforts. If you want your room to be successful, plan ahead before you buy and put in the necessary foundation to make your room positively impact the daily lives of your clients and your Multi-Sensory Environment spectacular!
©Linda Messbauer 10/17/12