Imagine a room with soothing music, calming lights, and cozy seating that immediately put you at ease. For students with visual impairments and complex disabilities, the newly-opened Snoezelen Room is just that: a sensory haven to recharge and reset when fatigue sets in.
The Snoezelen Room is a first-of-its kind at Perkins School for the Blind. Located on the ground floor of the Hilton Building, it’s tailor made for students in the Deafblind School, ranging in age from 3-22. The space is extra special because it celebrates the memory of student Brady Ellis.
“Brady was everybody’s friend,” said Amanda Toczylowski, one of Brady’s teachers in the Deafblind School. “He had a quality that brought you to him, and students and staff alike were drawn to him.”
The room was a collaborative effort within the Perkins community, with fundraising efforts led by his nurse, Debra Johnson.
With the support of Brady’s family and the funds Debra raised, Brady’s teaching team at Perkins, including Wendy Buckley, Megan Connaughton, and Amanda Toczylowski, brainstormed how to capture and share his spirit. They collaborated with Snoezelen, a company that specializes in crafting multi-sensory environments to order a customized list of products and create a design for the room that was representative of the deafblind student community as a whole.
“We have a range of students who have different sensory needs,” said Wendy Buckley. “We tried to pick things that would attract their particular needs, whether it’s tactile, visual, or visual and auditory.” Through creative thinking and teamwork, the windowed classroom was transformed into a haven for play and relaxation.
Debra’s fundraiser is an undeniable representation of a community’s power to change lives. Her dual commitment to honoring Brady and bettering the lives of his peers at Perkins inspired others to take action: to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Now, generations of students will be able to celebrate Brady’s life.
“The Snoezelen Room reflects not only the things he loved, but allows all students a way to access all of the equipment in their own, unique ways,” said Megan Connaughton. “This room will provide a way for students of all ages to learn and play for years to come—a place for friends to learn and play together.”
You can make resources like this available for even more Perkins students by making a gift today.