Community / Special Needs

Habilitas donors inaugurate Snoezelen room at Mackay and PEL Schools

Montreal - Thursday, September 12, 2019

Montreal , September 10, 2019 -After three years of planning, Habilitas Foundation (formerly the MAB-Mackay, Constance-Lethbridge and Camp Massawippi Foundations), the Mackay Centre and Philip E. Layton (PEL) Schools, and the Lethbridge-Layton-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre (previously MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre) unveiled a brand new Snoezelen® room at the Mackay Centre and PEL Schools in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

Habilitas Foundation donors on hand to inaugurate the room were Merle Wertheimer, Christine Babkine (Montreal Real Estate Foundation for Kids), Katrin Nakashima, Doron Altman, and Kristine and Richard Daigle. Together, they raised over $75,000 to fund the project. They were joined by the school and rehabilitation centre administrators and staff that were involved in the conception and piloting of the room.

Katrin Nakashima spearheaded the initiative and was moved to see a plaque dedicated to her late son Justin, who attended Mackay Centre School, on the door of the Snoezelen room. “This means so much for the children who can’t make choices. Thank you to everyone for making this possible,” said Ms. Nakashima.

The Snoezelen room provides a multisensory environment that offers an array of interesting and controllable sensory experiences that can relax and calm, stimulate, empower, educate, bring joy, and encourage positive interactions and communication. The Mackay Centre and PEL School’s Snoezelen room was designed with the goal of supporting the child’s therapeutic and educational goals, and in turn, enhance their quality of life. 

Upon entering the room, which is located on the second floor of the school, the lights glow soothing colours. From the sound of bubbles to the smell of aromas, visual stimulation to tactile boards and sound, students get to choose and direct their activities within the planned therapy session.

What is remarkable about this Snoezelen room is its multifunctionality. There is something for all users, whether the child is physically or visually impaired, deaf or hard-of-hearing, or has language or communication difficulties. The room is wheelchair accessible and the equipment can be used by children who use switches as an alternative access method.  

A Snoezelen Committee was created to ensure that staff are trained to use the technical equipment optimally for the therapeutic benefits of the children. A newly developed sensory log will allow them to closely monitor and document each child’s progress.

 “It’s a dream come true for all of our donors, and for all of us at the two schools with our unique partnership between rehab and education,” said Patrizia Ciccarelli, retired principal of Mackay Centre and PEL Schools. “This would not be possible without your generous contributions. You helped make this dream come true, and we’re very, very grateful to you and the Habilitas Foundation who brought this all together.”

Born out of the MAB-Mackay, Constance-Letbridge and Camp Massawippi Founations, Habilitas (Latin for “ability”) is a Montreal-based foundation that dreams of a world where physical disabilities are no longer disabling. The foundation raises funds for a wide array of services providers in order to ensure that people with physical disabilities receive the best rehabilitation possible. Maximizing quality of life and helping people realize their full potential is what Habilitas strives for.

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