Snoezelen Room and Inclusive Toy and Equipment Lending Library

The Cause

Cohesive Communities provides support and advocates for families and children living with disability in our region to fully and meaningfully participate in community. Our region includes Parkland County, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Paul First Nation.

Our idea: Snoezelen Room and Inclusive Toy and Equipment Library

Our region currently does not offer resources directed at community inclusion for families who have children with disabilities. Our idea is to create a safe, comfy and welcoming space within an existing Family Connection Centre in Stony Plain, AB. The ultimate goal is to have families with children who have disability fully enjoying community spaces, and truly creating a cohesive community for all walks of life in our region.

Our idea is twofold:

1. To create a Snoezelen Room - a Snoezelen room is a controlled multisensory environment. It is often used as a form of therapy for people with autism and other developmental disabilities. It is both a soothing and stimulating environment, which encourages communication and interaction.
2. To establish and grow an Inclusive Lending Library - we will purchase and compile new and innovative tools to lend out to families, specifically financially out of reach items, coupled with advocacy and mentorship for families to secure funding for borrowed items that really work for their child.

Two small examples of financially out of reach and non-funded items are 1. Special Needs Jogger (approx $1500 not including seat insert) and Kicksled (approx $500, again not including seat insert). Equipment such as this allows all season access and activity in community. We also plan to provide innovative technology items such as eye gaze and other communication software (which can range from $3,000 - $10,000), sensory items, and other equipment which will allow more engagement for children with disability in community. See attached photos of Snoezelen Room, Special Needs Jogger and Kicksled. We would love to share more photos of adaptive and sensory items, if given the opportunity.

We believe that all community organizations need to do their part in creating welcoming and inclusive spaces, and we are the leaders in this area in our region. Ultimately, we know that by undertaking these projects in collaboration with our partners, inclusive spaces and resources will become innate in all of our future planning, and every community member will feel welcome and supported.

Who Will it Benefit?

As stated above, we serve the Town of Stony Plain (population of 16,000), City of Spruce Grove (population of 34,000), Parkland County (population of 31,000) and Paul First Nation (on-reserve population of approx. 1200). Our target population for service delivery in these areas is families with children living with disability.

According to Family Support for Disabilities (FSCD), there are between 250-275 active FSCD contracts in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County area. This number represents families who have children under 18 with disabilities requiring extraordinary funding supports, which is funded under the umbrella of the Ministry of Disability Services. There is also a Facebook group entitled “Spruce Grove and Stony Plain Special Needs Families” which was started by a local parent, and has 150+ members to date. These FSCD families are our main target, however, not every child with a disability is diagnosed, or has an FSCD contract, or is a member of the Facebook group.

However, ALL families living in our regional area will potentially benefit, as they will have access to education, information, and opportunities to engage with and contribute to inclusive community environments in our region.