The Use of Multisensory Environments in Schools for Students with Severe Disabilities

Perceptions from Teachers

Jennifer Stephenson*, Mark Carter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


Although multisensory environments (MSE) are popular in schools educating students with severe disabilities, little is known about how teachers are using them. This paper reports on interviews with five teachers from two special schools who agreed to be videorecorded while using the room with their classes and who were interviewed about their perspectives on MSEs and about the activities observed in their classes. Most teachers seemed to believe that use of the MSE or the equipment in it would have automatic and remarkably wide ranging benefits for their students. There was more limited evidence of focused programing, teaching and monitoring practices that would result in functional outcomes for students. Given lack of empirical support for educational outcomes from MSE use, the authors call for more research on use of MSEs and for education authorities, schools, and teachers to more actively monitor and evaluate the effects of their use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-357
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011

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