Drawing on international experience and research, the Smile Sensory Room project looked at the benefits of developing multi-sensory environments (MSE) and culminated in the establishment of a community-housed Sensory Room at Horsley Community Centre in the Illawarra. This project fosters the involvement of people with disabilities, their carers, families and disability services to assist in the development and design of the space to best meet the needs of the whole community.
Building Resilient Communities
- Aid in the Pacific
- Antimicrobial Resistance
- Caring for Community
- Caring for the Incarcerated
- Collective Intelligence
- Disability Research Network
- Gamifying Activity
- Global Goals, Local Level
- Greener Cities
- Mapping Indigenous Communities
- Microfinance and Women's Empowerment
- Smart Cities for Understanding Living
- Smile Sensory Room
- Stronger Culture, Healthier Lifestyles
- Sunrise Movement Behaviours in Children
- Sustainable Eco-villages
- Urban Worlds
Smile Sensory Room
A MSE provides a safe, non-threatening environment for people with cognitive, behavioural and physical impairments to engage in a range of sensory experiences. The experiences provided by a MSE can both calm and stimulate the primary senses using sensory-based materials such as fibre optics sprays, bubble tubes, music, colour, lighting and aroma.
Based on CareWays' own community research, a lack of generally accessible supports for people living with disabilities was identified. CareWays pursued the idea of community-based supports and decided that the development of the multi-sensory environment (MSE) at Horsley Community centre would help meet these needs.
There are currently no community-based MSEs available to the community in the Illawarra or as far as we know, in Australia. As MSEs are typically found in institutional settings, families and carers are not generally able to access these spaces. Developing a MSE in a community centre allows the room to be enjoyed by all members of our community at a time that suits them, with family and carers who can support them, to enjoy this leisure time together. The Horsley MSE provides an opportunity for self‐directed experiences and shared family experiences. The SMILE team is investigating best practice design and development of MSEs. Further investigations into the use of the MSE are now underway.
The CareWays Community Sensory Room officially opened on July 1, 2017. The SMILE team have also collaborated on a UOW Community Engagement Grant to establish a Sensory Room website that provides guidance to both individuals and organisations who want to create a multi-sensory space for their home or community.
Take a sneak peek of what a sensory room looks like, and what it means for the Illawarra community, WIN TV, June 29, 2017
Illawarra’s first community-based multi-sensory environment opens, UOW, June 28, 2017
A interdisciplinary team of UOW researchers preparing to launch a multi-sensory environment for CareWays Community, UOW Research, June 2017
Multi-sensory room to provide additional disability services to Illawarra, UOW, October 27, 2016
The Illawarra's first multi-sensory rooms will be set up to help those with a disability, WIN TV, October 26, 2016
Rose Dixon is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education in the Faculty of Social Sciences
Dr Sim Lau is a Senior lecturer in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences
Dr Andrea Garner is in the School of Education in the Faculty of Social Sciences
Dr Pippa Burns is a lecturer in the Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health
Allison Cameron is a PhD student in the School of Education in the Faculty of Social Sciences
Michael Szafraniec is the Operations Manager at CareWays Community
Carly Pascoe is the Community Development officer at CareWays Community
This project is working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals: