Multisensory environments: challenges and possibilities of sociocultural multisensory work for individuals with profound and multiple disabilities

Sirkkola, Marja, Ala-Opas, Toumas, and Pagliano, Paul (2009) Multisensory environments: challenges and possibilities of sociocultural multisensory work for individuals with profound and multiple disabilities. In: Proceedings from the Come To Your Senses Conference 2009. pp. 102-113. From: Come To Your Senses Conference 2009, 21-25 October 2009, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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This presentation introduces the complex challenges and possibilities of a novel Finnish approach called sociocultural multisensory work; a concept, which combines and applies theories of social pedagogy and multisensory methods. Since these approaches may not yet be generally known in UK, USA, Australia and other English speaking countries, their theoretical backgrounds and practical uses will be introduced through examples.

The overall purpose of sociocultural multisensory work is to increase quality of life. This means increased happiness which is achieved through empowering participation in inclusive multisensory and cultural activities at three levels: individual, community and society. The individual level is probably the most familiar one for caregivers and service providers. This seems to be the case since the individual level is often the level of focus in supporting people with profound and multiple disabilities, which is one of the most vulnerable groups and therefore a challenging service user group.

This group challenges all service providers, but especially those whose aim is to provide accessible multisensory and cultural experiences at community’s and society’s levels. In Finland, sociocultural multisensory work is used within special education, health and social care services, and it is so far most often practiced in purposefully built Multisensory Environments. Currently there is a growing interest in Finland in building inclusive multisensory and cultural environments also at the community and society levels.

Item ID: 11235
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
ISBN: 978-0-9689788-3-2
Keywords: empowerment; happiness; individuals with profound and multiple disabilities as service users; interdisciplinary team work; sociocultural multisensory work; participation
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Conference theme "Creating supportive environments to nurture the sensory capital within"

Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2010 23:47
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130312 Special Education and Disability @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939907 Special Needs Education @ 100%
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