The Use of Multi-Sensory Environments in Schools Servicing Children with Severe Disabilities

Mark Carter*, Jennifer Stephenson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Multi-sensory environments (MSEs) are reportedly being increasingly used in schools but there is little research on funding, rationale, ways they are used and perceived benefits. A survey was conducted of special schools enrolling children with severe disabilities in New South Wales, Australia. More than half the 36 responding schools reported having a MSE installed. Schools typically relied on advice from other teachers, therapists and equipment suppliers in their decisions to install MSEs, with very little examination of research. A wide range of uses and benefits were reported, with limited emphasis on active teaching of skills. There was a widespread acceptance of the inherent value of sensory stimulation. Policy implications for school systems considering or using MSEs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-109
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


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