News

  • Monday, November 17, 2014

    Linda has recently appeared in an article on NorthJersey.com, where she talks about a Multi-Sensory Environment in the Phoenix Center, a private school in Nutley. The room was designed to stimulate neglected physiology in disabled students.

    An Excerpt from the article:

    Linda Messbauer, an occupational therapist from Queens who designed and opened the first sensory room in the nation in 1992, said the benefits of these rooms are backed up by good scientific trends and research.

    “Kids are influenced by their environment, and they want to control as much of it as they can. The room helps kids learn to control their behavior through understanding and using their sensory diet,” Messbauer said. “You dim the lights, bringing about darkness, and it tells the child’s nervous system that it should start to produce melatonin and this starts the calming process.

    What is happening is causing more areas of the brain to be functional and to be pulled into the process, causing a change, usually bringing about more focus and attention. These rooms help them learn how to control themselves, assuming the therapist knows how to use it properly.”

    Read the full article here.

  • Sunday, October 12, 2014

    Dr. Marina Masic and Linda Messbauer spent time together in NY in an MSE connecting Art and Science. Linda is very impressed with this interview and hopes our AAMSE members and readers will have a "look see." It is both beautiful and, as Linda calls it, "brain-wise functional"....

    http://www.coolhunting.com/culture/aesthetics-and-therapeutics-lab.php

  • Wednesday, May 07, 2014

    I always like getting the Bad News out of the way first, so here goes…Unfortunately, my MSE room here in Queens is flooded thanks to climate change in late March. It had to be taken down and the room waterproofed. French Drains have been installed and a sump pump put in. It now will take ninety days for the concrete to cure before the room can be made ready again for an MSE session.

    The silver lining – or good news – is that I have an opportunity to upgrade the MSE and make it new and better. With all this said, I hope to have Training up and going by Sept. 15th in a new and improved MSE!

    I have attached pictures of the room, as it were. I’ll add new shots as we progress. Stay tuned, as they say, and have a wonderful spring and summer!

  • Monday, May 05, 2014

    Dr. Marina Masic, an art therapist, first emailed in 2011 with an interest in combining Art and Sensory, and a dialog opened between them.

    Marina shared her dream of opening a Sensory Spa for Wellness, and so she visited Linda’s MSE and learned much about the design aspects in relation to the human’s functioning brain. Marina gained much insight into what sensations do for changing our arousal, focus, perspective and eventually our behavior. She clearly understands how we can become more intimately involved with the relaxation process and how art and design will influence our very being

    I congratulate Marina and her colleagues on their award and hope you will watch their video and help sponsor them!

    You can view the full article and Video here, and make a donation.

  • Thursday, October 31, 2013

    An article posted on the Livingston County News of Geneseo NY, about the debut of the new MSE for Wayland-Cohocton Central School. The article mentions Linda Messbauer, who served as chief consultant and designer of the Multi-Sensory Environment.

    A brief excerpt:

    "A significant step came when the Hughes’ learned about Linda Messbauer, a New York City designer of MSE rooms. Messbauer is on the autism spectrum herself and is one of the founders of the American Association of Multi-Sensory Environment and the developer of the first MSE in the United States in 1992. Jacqueline Hughes’s sister, Jennifer Sullivan, CEO at St. James Mercy Hospital in Hornell, contacted Messbauer and a group from the task force met with her in New York City. The Way-Co group worked with Messbauer to design their MSE room. She provided training to Way-Co staff on how the MSE equipment works. Messbauer attended the ribbon cutting at the school."

    For the full article: please Click Here.

  • Friday, September 27, 2013

    Linda Messbauer has recently been featured on the She Knows Parenting web site, in an article that details the creation and use of a Multi-Sensory Environment.

    In the article, Linda states:

    "A multi-sensory environment is not a plug and play toy," Messbauer emphasizes. "Look for a qualified person who has actually been through at least two to three days of training — at least 16 hours working and learning in an actual MSE room — and has worked with children in an MSE for at least one year for assistance and questions before you buy materials."

    For the full article, please Visit this Link.

  • Sunday, September 15, 2013

    Linda wanted to share with you a speech written by Mr. Robert Hughes for the Grand Opening of the MSE at Wayland-Cohocton Central School. Mr. and Mrs. Hughes are both Teachers and the Parents of a Child with ASD. Their leadership and perseverance lead to this moment…Read Mr. Hughes wonderful account of their journey...

    Isaac Newton, Yogi Berra, and the 14th Dalai Lama

    Isaac Newton advanced our understanding of the physical world in ways unmatched by any other scientist. Though to us, much of what he said seems obvious today, in his time it was nothing short of revolutionary, (perhaps heretical) and his thoughts drew the jealous ire of his scientific contemporaries, with whom he maintained historically notorious feuds.

    It is through his teachings that we have come to better understand the forces of Inertia and Momentum as fundamental concepts of science and Nature.

    Inertia is a double edged sword. A body at rest remains at rest (inert) until a force is applied. Inertia is something that must be overcome if progress is to be made. Once in motion, however, a body will remain in motion in a direct line until acted upon by another force which can change its velocity as well as its direction.

    Momentum is “mass in motion” and can be expressed mathematically by the equation: Momentum equals mass times velocity. Momentum, however, cannot exist until inertia is overcome, but once in motion, momentum can be compounded in two ways. Adding more mass increases momentum, as does increasing velocity. When you increase both mass and velocity, Momentum increases significantly.

    I would like to apply Newton’s “notions of motion” to a brief history of the development of our MSE room, and in so doing, drag Yogi Berra and the Dalai Lama into the conversation alongside Newton.

    Lawrence Peter Berra, known to the world simply as Yogi, is perhaps best known to Yankee fans as owning the most World Series Rings of any man to ever play the game (10), but to Yankee-haters, he is just a big-eared fellow with a strange way of expressing himself through malapropisms that have come to be known as Yogi-isms. His statements leave some walking away shaking their head, yet they are remarkably concise ways to view a situation with uncommon clarity. They are brief, direct, and allow the rest of us to see an idea from a different perspective.

    Yogi-ism #1: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
    Our project began with a desire to re-think our educational approach to children with certain needs who are commonly diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. Having worked with a significant number of Asperger’s and Tourette children as well as boatloads of undiagnosed, quirky and ADD/ADHD students in our careers at this district, my wife and I had witnessed first-hand the anguish these students endure particularly as children and adolescents. Although frequently challenging to work with, we had drawn great joy in their unique abilities and talents and came to strongly believe we could do a better job of helping them work through their challenges and realize their awesome potential. At first, our vision had very little mass (just a few folks) and zero velocity. Inertia was a barrier and we were going nowhere. Early on, we thought if we could just help these children work through their frequent meltdown behaviors we could get them back to class more quickly and increase their chances of success. We had an idea that we would create a calming space for them and began to brainstorm ways to accomplish this at our school.

    As time went by, our mass grew and we developed a task force of teachers, doctors, administrators, community members, and business people who shared our vision and brought diverse knowledge, abilities, and connections to the table. We now had mass, but still no velocity, and a resultant momentum of zero.

    It soon became obvious that there would be no velocity nor momentum without financial support. Woefully limited state budgets for schools meant any real financial support would need to be sought out beyond the walls of our school. Our staff did a dress up/dress down day, our teachers association made a contribution, family members did likewise, and my wife and I canvassed local service organizations such as Rotary and Lions. Our ambitions were high and we started to get the word out. A conversation with Tim Costello at Gunlock prompted a meeting with Don Mead and we shared our vision with him. Don quickly ran with the idea and met with members from HNI charitable foundation and we were stunned when we were informed their corporation committed to providing $12,500, half our projected budget at the time. Inertia had now been overcome and momentum was building.

    Yogi-ism #2: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you will wind up somewhere else.”
    As we continued to seek financial support, Jackie dove in head-first investigating all the latest research and what had been done elsewhere. Her efforts led her to Linda Messbauer, who had already established multisensory rooms around the globe and in the states, and we came to realize Linda was certainly the greatest mind in the field, now only if she would take our phone call and answer a few questions…In uncharacteristically bold fashion, Jackie took the bull by the horns and reached out to Linda and within a few weeks, members of the task force were driving to NYC, where Linda opened her home to us and blew us away with her knowledge and expertise. Our body was in motion and when acted upon by the force Linda provided, our velocity increased and our direction changed as well. Our Momentum was magnified ten-fold.

    Linda opened a whole new world of understanding to the task force. We no longer wanted to create a space for struggling students to work through meltdowns, we wanted to establish a special environment that would proactively help students avoid meltdowns altogether through relaxation and reflection in a safe environment. It was then that we realized our initial proposed budget of $25,000 would fall short of our vision and it was back to fundraising.

    Yogi-ism #3: “You can observe a lot just by watching.”
    We believe we have a unique vision that is strongly supported by a committed task force and a group of dedicated counselors chomping at the bit to apply this new approach in our school district. Although we expect a learning curve, our counselors are flexible and mindful professionals who will make the most of this room and adjust their approach through observation and revelation. They plan to personalize the use of the room to the needs of each child they service and truly understand the meaning of the phrase, “If you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person.” The momentum of this project is now in their capable hands and we are so very proud of the excitement and passion they possess.

    Yogi-ism #4: “If the World were perfect, it wouldn’t be.”
    Will this room be a panacea for every struggling student? Certainly not, but we have a strong conviction that we will make significant strides in helping students help themselves as they grow. Though we don’t have all the answers and we don’t know exactly where this will take us, our vision takes into account the necessary flexibility to refine our approach and we are convinced there is tremendous power in this vision and our team.

    Yogi-ism #5: “I want to thank you for making this day necessary.”
    Teaching for nearly a quarter century each, my wife and I have seen many students who exhibit characteristics of Autistic Spectrum Disorder come through our classroom doors. In recent years, more and more are diagnosed as such, but I can assure you that many more have not been formally diagnosed, yet certainly reside on the spectrum. These students are often our most colorful and intelligent kids in the class. They can be extremely difficult to manage, yet their quirkiness is endearing. These are the sorts of kids who teach us more than we teach them, if we adults are smart enough to pay attention. For many of them, their potential is greater than the majority of their peers, but various barriers hamper their development. Years later, they remain as benchmarks of past teaching glory and will surely pop up as our most memorable students when we retire and look back on our careers. We also believe they often end up as the toughest kids in their class because their idiosyncrasies draw negative attention from their peers beginning at an early age and continuing into adulthood. They are the kind of kids you want to take under your wing and help them work through their struggles and we believe that the latest brain research indicates that many of their challenges can indeed be overcome in a proper setting.

    Yogi-ism #5: “The future ain’t what it used to be.”
    It is hard to contain the excitement of our group. We deeply believe we now have a tremendous vehicle to make significant advances in the growth of our special students. We anticipate a few false starts as part of our learning curve, but strongly feel we will quickly find our stride and change the lives of young people.

    Now after all of these Yogi-isms and lessons on Newtonian Physics, it’s time to look deeper into the character of these two gentlemen. Both men held the power to view our world differently, more clearly. Both men were also interesting personalities.

    As for Isaac Newton,
    He was born premature, not expected to live and it was said he could fit in a milk bottle as an infant.
    During his boyhood years he occasionally didn’t return home at the end of the day and searches for him found him standing on a bridge staring at the water as it flowed past below.
    He had an overbearing step-father who piled on many chores and once when sent to fetch the family horse, he came home dragging the reigns unaware that the horse had slipped free.
    He loved to draw as a child and his room was decorated with many colors.
    In grammar school he was described as idle and inattentive and was widely known as the worst kid in school.
    He was an avid list-maker and one of his lists included a catalog of every sin he had committed up to the age 19, among them no less than three threats to burn down his family’s house with his mother and step-father inside.
    He discovered that white light was actually a spectrum of different colors, and suffered a nervous breakdown when violently defending his ideas on light
    Though not a strong student, Isaac attended Trinity College, only to be sent home during the plague years, to avoid the contagious black death.
    It was during this time away from college that he became bored and developed his laws of motion.
    Oh, and he also invented calculus in his spare time away from college, but didn’t publish or share the concepts for more than 10 years!

    Imagine the world without Newton. We would never have made it to the moon and other great minds that built upon his work might not have been inspired to do so.

    Now for Lawrence Peter Berra,
    Yogi remains a character of the highest order. During his life he has accomplished a remarkable number of milestones. Despite an awkward body type he accomplished legendary things in the game of baseball:
    He was an American League All-Star 15 times
    He was the American League MVP three times
    He won 10 World Series and remains the only catcher of a Perfect game in the Fall Classic
    On one double-header day he drove in an astounding 23 runs between the two games
    He was widely known to swing at just about any pitch regardless of where it was in the strike zone, yet seldom struck out, frustrating countless pitchers
    In 1950, he struck out only 12 times in 597 at bats
    Taking a break from the game to fight in WWII, Yogi was part of the D-Day Invasion on Omaha Beach
    As a student, however, Yogi was less than stellar…
    During his grade school years, an aunt asked him how he liked school and he replied “closed.”
    His 7th grade teacher once made the comment, “Lawrence, Don’t you KNOW ANYTHING?” to which he replied, “Ma’am, I don’t even SUSPECT anything.”
    Yogi quit school in the 8th grade

    Some things both men have in common:
    Both were poor students
    Both had unusual abilities of concentration
    Both had the capacity to see the world from a radically different perspective than the rest of us
    Both were odd characters and non-conformists
    And despite an ignorance of the world to the many manifestations of Autism in Newton’s age, experts agree he and Yogi Berra (and Mozart, Leonardo Di Vinci, Bill Gates, and an entire Who’s Who of significant humans) were certainly high functioning Autistic Individuals.

    You are all here this evening because you believe in the potential of all students and you were willing to contribute in some way to the realization of that potential. I can assure you that your support is profoundly appreciated and that this project will contribute to greater success for our students with special needs.

    It was the 14th Dalai Lama who perhaps best conveyed the True Meaning of Life…
    He wrote…
    “We are visitors on this planet. We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.”

    Your contributions and your attendance here tonight are strongly indicative that your journey is well underway. The Task Force thanks you for your contributions and your attendance this evening.

  • Friday, August 16, 2013

    SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS GET BOOST

    WAYLAND - When special needs students in Wayland-Cohocton Central Schools return to school in the fall, they will have a new tool to help them succeed in the classroom.
    The district is installing a "multi-sensory environment" room, which will assist children with special needs through sensory relaxation.
    Children with autism spectrum disorder see the MSE as a safe environment to interact with their surroundings. For children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the MSE acts as a tool to help harness concentration and focus. The MSE can also provide an outlet to center their emotions and learn new useful coping strategies for children with emotional and behavioral disorders.
    Jackie Hughes, project manager, has a child with autism and is a teacher.
    "There needs to be more resources for these kids," Huges said. "This is a great thing."
    The room was designed by Linda Messbauer, one of the founders of the American Association of Multi-Sensory Environments and the developer of the first MSE in the United States in 1992.
    Equipment for the MSE room was purchased, with no cost to taxpayers, and installed in June. Hughes hopes the WCCS MSE, which will be the first multi-sensory environment in a New York State public school, will spark interest from other schools.
    A fundraising goal was set for $25,000 to help fund the MSE, but thanks to the generosity of the community and local businesses, the organizing team was able to raise more than their goal. The Gunlocke Company matched the school $12,500.
    The organizing team included Jackie Hughes, Robert Hughes, Jennifer Sullivan, Jim Sullivan, Stan Konopoko, Mike Wetherbee, Cora Saxton and Michelle Degrass.
    The WCCS Board of Education approved the project last year.
    Messbauer, who is an international speaker and trainer for the MSE, will train the Wayland-Chohocton staff this summer.
    The project is hoped to be completed by September; a ribbon-cutting ceremony has been planned for Sept. 12.
    Fundraising efforts are continuing for training and room maintenance.

    To make a donation, mail a check to the Wayland-Chohocton Central School Business Office, 2350 Route 63N, Wayland, NY 14572. Checks should be made out to Wayland-Cohocton Sensory Room.

  • Thursday, May 09, 2013

    Linda Messbauer and Janice Ryan, both Occupational Therapists and AAMSE Trainers, presented at the AOTA Conference in sunny San Diego, April 24-28th, 2013.

    They gratefully acknowledge the use of Sens-Aura’s equipment and support for demonstrating the power of Multi-sensory Environments.

  • Friday, April 19, 2013

    Linda appears in a new video posted by Red Ribbon Academy for Community Options, Inc. in New York. The video shows the facility, and shows some incredible progress of a client.

    Please click here for the Youtube video

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