[Rockville, MD] –TLC—The Treatment and Learning Centers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving lives and expanding possibilities for individuals with disabilities, is pleased to announce the opening of its new state-of-the-art MultiSensory Environment (MSE) room in recognition of April as Occupational Therapy Month and Autism Awareness Month.

The space is the first of its kind in Montgomery County and was designed and built by the Christopher Douglas Hidden Angels Foundation (CDHAF), which provided $10,800 of the $24,000 cost of the room, with the remaining funds donated by the Rockville Rotary Club Foundation, Wheaton-Silver Spring Kiwanis Club, CVS Pharmacy and private donors.

The unique environment enhances therapy, learning and relaxation for children with sensory processing difficulties and developmental delays, and can also be an excellent tool for children on the autism spectrum.  Children can exercise choice through action in a number of ways, such as changing the lighting, as well as enjoy a wide range of sensory experiences that blend sights, sounds, textures and motions with fiber optics, ultraviolet lights, waterbeds and bubble tubes.

Said Brigid Baker, director of outpatient occupational therapy, “We are already seeing what a difference the space is making for the kids in terms of calming and relaxation.”

“We’re thrilled to have this exciting new resource that we estimate will serve over 200 children a year in the community, and thank all our donors for their generous support,” added Dr. Patricia Ritter, executive director.

First introduced in the Netherlands in the 1970s, the establishment and use of Multi Sensory Environments in North America has been limited according to CDHAF, which has constructed over 35 similar projects throughout the U.S. and Canada in schools, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and other facilities.

MSEs have been shown to benefit people with:

  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Coma
  • Chronic Pain Syndrome
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Mental Dysfunction
  • Pervasive Developmental Delays
  • Profound Multiple Disabilities
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

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