Issie Senses

Issie Senses

In the hands of a skilled and enabling practitioner, a controlled multi-sensory therapeutic environment (MSTE) offers a powerful therapeutic tool for people who experience sensory dysregulation that may be rooted in anxiety, trauma, learning disabilities, brain injury, mental health challenges, developmental delay, autism or the elderly. The room can relax, energise, stimulate or calm a person, according to that individual’s specific needs, if used correctly.

Originally developed in the 1970s in the Netherlands, multi-sensory rooms have been established in institutions all over the world. At Bellavista School, South Africa, such a room is used in a multidisciplinary context and has therapeutic purpose for children of school going age who experience barriers to learning. The intervention is not bound by a specific professional discipline, therapy, facility, or client profile. It enhances our commitment to the Ayers Sensory Integration model. The MSTE is tool and resource utilised to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and other limiting conditions.

A session in a multi-sensory therapeutic environment involves offering a person an opportunity to enter a soothing and stimulating environment. These rooms are specially designed to deliver stimuli to various senses using lighting intensity, simulated movement, colour, acoustics, vibrosonic feedback, music, scents, etc. Different equipment on a wall combined with materials on the floor may be explored using tactile senses and offer sensory feedback. An advantage of the therapeutic experience is that it does not rely on verbal communication. At Bellavista School, it would be the work of a trained practitioner to use such a room.


Bellavista School is committed to evidence based practice. Beyond the wealth of intuitive skills presented by our therapists based on their experience, we always seek our hard data before implementing any programme. Further, we scrutinise our practice to determine efficacy and measurable results.

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