Multi-Sensory Environment at Pediatric Movement Center

By Erin Salahov, COTA/L, Pediatric Movement Center, Hagerstown, Maryland

The light room. The chill-out room. The sensory room. It has many names, and many purposes. From physical therapy to occupational therapy to speech therapy, we all utilize our MSE (Multi-Sensory Environment) on a daily basis.

Therapists at Pediatric Movement Center (PMC) often use the MSE at the start of a session to improve attention and self-regulation of our clients. We’ve found that this helps our pediatric clients better attend and respond to challenging gross motor and fine motor tasks. We also utilize it in the middle or end of a session, when a client becomes over-stimulated due to challenging motor tasks or a when our large gym gets quite busy! This often improves clients’ transition back out to the waiting room with their caregiver. The MSE has also proven to be very motivating to our pediatric clients who have had less exposure to stimulating visual and vestibular input, due to the impact of a disability limiting their mobility and ability to explore. The fiber optic lights and bubble tubes often motivate a child to crawl who would not do so otherwise, and I personally have witnessed the marble wall encouraging a child to reach overhead with both hands who had not done so before!

We are excited to see the continued benefit and impact on our clients here at PMC, thanks to our awesome MSE!