• Thursday, September 21, 2017

    I have been asked to write a supporting letter for why an Interior Designer should take a course on Multi-Sensory Environments. My answers would be the following:

    To understand how the impact of design can create a harmonious peaceful setting or one that puts individuals into high stressful visual environments
    Understand how shape, line and color are part of our neurological genetic makeup and how best to work with these principles (the visual processing system)
    Understand how design can influence emotions, and aid in changing challenging behaviors in Schools and Nursing Homes
    Understand the impact and differences of sensory overload verses sensory stimulation on the body and brain
    Understand functional lighting and its impact on the very core of activities of daily living; including memory retrieval and learning and influencing sleep patterns and eating (Major problems in Nursing homes)
    Understand what dynamic brain arousal continuums are and how design will assist in positive changes

    I could go on and on about the need for better communication and integration of Professionals for obtaining better results for those with special needs. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well below is a Government Approved Head Start school classroom for Autistic preschoolers; the children in this room were screaming, hitting their ears, banging their heads, covering their eyes and not one interacted with this “enriched environment”.

  • Thursday, September 21, 2017

    Linda's work is featured in Virginia's Martinsville Bulletin. She designed the Multi-Sensory Environment used at the King's Grant Retirement Community, which is now featured in the January 2013 edition of the Bulletin. The article is as follows:
    King's Grant unveils new tool for dementia

    Monday, January 14, 2013

    By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer

    Twin columns of bubbling, glowing liquid stretch to the ceiling and slowly shift from blue to red to green, while starbursts twinkle along the walls and a bundle of fiber-optic strands pulse with soft colors.

    It may sound like a scene from the next “Star Trek” movie, but it actually is the newest addition to King’s Grant Retirement Community: a multi-sensory room designed to calm or stimulate residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

    The room, which has been in use at King’s Grant since mid-October, was dedicated Wednesday night to Dr. Craig Dietrich, the community’s corporate representative and a member of its regional advisory council.

    According to Becky Farrar, executive director of King’s Grant, Dietrich was instrumental in getting the multi-sensory room at King’s Grant.

    Farrar said she and Dietrich saw one of the rooms while returning from a corporate board meeting in Harrisonburg, and they were impressed.

    “(Dietrich) stepped forward and he said, ‘Becky, you get me an idea of how much that’s going to cost, and I’ll make the first donation,’” Farrar said.

    Dietrich also played a role in soliciting donations from the King’s Grant community, mainly securing donations from board members and staff, she said. Several residents also pitched in and attended the dedication.

    Jack Broaddus, president and CEO of Sunnyside Communities, spoke at the dedication. Sunnyside Communities, based in Harrisonburg, owns King’s Grant and two other retirement communities.

    Broaddus explained that multi-sensory rooms were created in the Netherlands, where they are known as “Snoezelen rooms.”

    According to online sources, Snoezelen is a combination of two Dutch words, one meaning to seek out or explore, the other meaning to doze or snooze.

    The rooms originally were created to stimulate those with autism or developmental disabilities and later were found to benefit people with dementia. The rooms mainly are popular in Europe, though they gradually are appearing in the United States as well.

    “If you look at it from the industry perspective,” Broaddus said, “we’re one of the unique locations to have one of these.”

    The multi-sensory room contains a vibrating chair, two columns of bubbling water, mirrors, soft pillows, a projector capable of displaying several different kinds of light patterns on the walls, bundles of fiber-optic strands and other objects designed to provide a unique sensory experience.

    Everything in the room can be controlled by an operator. In some cases, the operator can be a trained family member. A simple control board is used to change the color of the lights in the bubbling cylinders and fiber-optic strands.

    Music also can be played in the room, and the chair vibrates in time with the music.

    Currently, the three King’s Grant staff members who have received training on how to operate the room are Shanna Wright, health services director; Todd Barnes, nursing home administrator; and Andrea Braziel, activities coordinator.

    The three led a demonstration of the room following the dedication, and all had stories of the positive effects they had seen the room have on the residents.

    Wright told of one wheelchair-bound resident who generally sits bent-over in her chair, staring at the floor. While in the multi-sensory room, she raised her head and sat up straight to watch the light show projected on the wall.

    Barnes told of a resident whom they were trying to stimulate. But no matter what music they played, including a CD of cello renditions of Metallica songs, she sat still in the chair, seemingly asleep.

    After the session, she stood up, grabbed her walker and began dancing.

    According to Wright, the most moving sight she has witnessed in the room involved a resident who never speaks and is immobile.

    “Her and her private duty sitter have been coming in here regularly,” Wright said, “and one of the times I was in here with them, she seemed real restless in her recliner, so we sat her straight up. ... Clear as a bell, she said, ‘I’ve got to dance.’ The sitter started crying. I had tears in my eyes.”

    Since the multi-sensory room opened in mid-October, about 40 residents have used it, Wright said. Most residents have used the room multiple times. The average session lasts 30-45 minutes.

    “We want this room to be utilized as much as possible,” Wright said.

    At the dedication, Dietrich received a plaque inscribed with a quote from author Richelle Goodrich: “We never think lightly of those who walk with us on our uphill days.”

    “I am humbled by this recognition,” Dietrich said. “I was struck by the testimonials of the staff at Sunnyside where they have their room, and just thought it could be a wonderful asset to our residents here at King’s Grant ... I certainly appreciate all of you who contributed, because obviously I didn’t do it all.”

    “It really is just an amazing thing.”

    *Article credited to the Martinsville Bulletin;
    You can find the article on the Martinsville Bulletin Website here.

  • Tuesday, December 04, 2012

    New 2013 AAMSE Training Dates are posted! You can view and register for the nearest five dates by using the Workshops list on the right, and see the FULL LIST by visiting This Page. We hope to see you in the New Year!

  • Monday, October 22, 2012

    We would like to share another testimonial from a recent training session that Linda has done. This comes from Shanna C. Wright, RN BSN CDP, the Director of Health Services at the Kings Grant Retirement Community in Martinsville Virginia:

    Linda was great to work with! She catered our training to our facility’s individual needs and resident population. She was flexible with her schedule and broke training sessions into classroom knowledge of how multi-sensory environments came to exist and what parts of the brain they stimulate, as well as, hands on experience with the equipment. She was available prior to start up, consulting for the equipment needs, based on the room size as well as room design. She has been readily available after training as well for additional questions. Her services didn’t end the day she left! We look forward to a long lasting relationship with her! She is truly an expert in her field!

    Shanna C. Wright RN BSN CDP
    Director of Health Services
    Kings Grant Retirement Community
    Martinsville VA 24112

    Thanks very much to Shanna and the good folk at the Kings Grant Retirement Community! Below you can read a couple more snippets from the dialogue that Linda and Shanna had (e-mail excerpts below are reprinted with permission):

    From: Linda Messbauer
    To: Shanna Wright
    Subject: Re:
    Hi Great stuff and you're on the correct path, it really is all about that memory and pleasure, isn't it. Nice examples of this. Thank you, Linda
    Linda Messbauer

    From: Shanna Wright
    To: lmessbauer
    Subject: RE:
    I took a lady in yesterday that gets combative in the afternoon, she got so relaxed and did fall off to sleep so I let her enjoy the peace. I could tell she was getting it though, her eyes would flicker with each light change (as you were pointing out, they still see it with eyes closed) the only thing, at the end when I asked did she enjoy the show she said but would prefer words to the music…. It kind of caught me off guard as I wasn’t aware she was that alert! I am going to try her again and play piano music as she used to play and see if I get the same response. This morning I took the lady in you commented on with her head slumped down and in her geri-recliner. Her head lifted immediately, she watched the whole time from side to side and head was raised!! Just amazing. She wants to come back as well.

  • Thursday, September 20, 2012

    It gives us great pleasure to post a testimonial that Linda has received from Linda Felix, MSE Committee Chairperson at Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES:

    Linda Messbauer has been instrumental in helping our school at Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES grow our Multi Sensory Environment over the past seven years. In 2005, we received a grant allowing us to purchase a few sensory devices. At that time I realized we needed a lot more information to go forward with the project.

    Several members of our MSE committee attended Linda Messbauer’s vastly informative workshop in NYC that permitted us to get started. We learned everything from theory to practical use of equipment. Linda’s offers of help led us to consult with her numerous times at her site and at ours. She guided our MSE team diligently and methodically as we developed and expanded. She spent conference days training our staff and has always been more than generous with her time and expertise as a dedicated professional. Linda has been an essential asset to the development of our room.

    As a result, our MSE committee wrote and received three more grants to enlarge and improve our space. We have conducted studies to support its use and have many more students enjoying its benefits every day. The MSE is now an integral part of the Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES program supporting our work with students with multiple disabilities.

    Linda Felix
    Teacher of the Visually Impaired
    MSE Committee Chairperson
    Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES
    200 BOCES Drive
    Yorktown Heights, New York 10598

    Thanks very much to Linda Felix for allowing us to help her program grow and prosper!

  • Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    Hello everyone,

    We would like to share with you a very touching letter that was sent to Linda to thank her for the time she spent at a recent workshop:

    "Dear Linda,

    Thank you for working with our son last Friday. There was a positive effect on him, lasting through the weekend. He seemed refreshed and talked about how he had liked the music and lights in the room. He mentioned you by name on several occasions, saying that you were a "nice person"!

    I would also like to say thank you for having lunch with us. I appreciated having the opportunity to talk with you. The things that you said

    about my son and his potential touched me very deeply. You have inspired me with new hope and confidence. As well, your presentation was absolutely fascinating and filled with a wealth of information.

    I would like to create a multi-sensory environment in our playroom at home. We briefly started to discuss this when we met but in order to do this appropriately, I still need some information. My objective with this room is to stimulate him briefly so he can transition into a state of mind that would be favorable for learning. I would like to do this in small sessions that are repeated often. For instance: 10 minutes of music/lights followed by 15 minutes of work (math, reading), 5 times per week. (I would like to know your opinion on
    this duration and frequency).

    On your web page, I read the article : "Multi-Sensory Environment – A Protocol for Individuals with Autism", and have found it very useful. With your permission, I would like to e-mail you again regarding this setup in order to get your feedback."

    We thank you all very much for your letters and correspondence!

  • Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    Linda's work has been cited in a new book, entitled The Multisensory Handbook, which is a guide for children and adults with sensory learning disabilities. The author, Paul Pagliano, has mentioned Linda and her work. A quote from the book is as follows:

    One approach I like was developed by Linda Messbauer (2011). It involves three steps. The first step is called 'Wow'. This is where the caring practitioner designs sensory stimulation just right for the participant's stage of sense development. The participant is sufficiently captivated by the stimulation to become fascinated (see Chapter 4). Fascination indicates that the participant is finding the sense experience gratifying and it is this gratification that strongly motivates the participant to want to continue to engage with the stimulation. Typical fascination follows an engagement curve where the attention goes up, plateaus for a while and then subsides.

    Linda thanks Mr. Pagliano for mentioning her, and hopes that the book becomes a valuable tool in the further education of MSE practitioners.

  • Friday, January 06, 2012

    Linda has been very busy and some present 2012 projects underway are:

    • Training in Texas Jan. 17-20 Alzheimer’s Unit
    • Lecture at Downstate, Feb. 9, Occupational Therapy Department
    • Guest speaker and presenter at Guatemala’s Special Education Conference, Feb 18 -22 (Linda trained and coordinated the first Snoezelen Concept Room in Guatemala)
    • Miami AAMSE training, Feb. 26 - 27
  • Sunday, October 23, 2011

    The 9th International Snoezelen Congress (ISNA) held in Paris Oct. 19-21, 2011 was a great success. With over 250 people and 15 countries represented, this venue offered many opportunities to exchange ideas and hear new concepts and research. Some of the interesting dialog was on the new draft of a more inclusive definition of Snoezelen/Multisensory Environments that is being put forth to the World.

    Linda had an opportunity to present the evolving Therapeutic approach from 1992 to the present and underscore the basic principles of Snoezelen: which are using respect, choice and empowerment with Controlled Multi-Sensory Stimulation to illicit through the individual changes in brain neuroplasticity.

    Linda was honored to be invited on the Board of Directors of ISNA and looks forward to volunteering her services.

  • Monday, October 17, 2011

    This series of slides is presented to show the stages of arousal that takes place in a Multi-Sensory Environment. Notice how, over the course of the slideshow, the level of arousal of this three-year-old, goes from her initial state of "excitement" to one that changes to a focused baseline, ready to learn!

    To learn more about this process, please refer to the Research and Articles section. For more information, contact Linda using this easy form!

Syndicate content