Use of multisensory environments in schools for students with severe disabilities

Perceptions from schools

Jennifer Stephenson*, Mark Carter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Multisensory environments (MSEs) have become popular in schools for students with severe disabilities in the UK, the US, and Australia, despite a lack of convincing research evidence for any positive effects on learning and behaviour. This paper reports on in depth interviews with staff from two schools in Sydney, NSW, Australia that explored the background to the installations of MSEs, perceptions, and beliefs about the effects of use of MSEs. School staff was unfamiliar with the literature on MSEs and relied on the Internet and commercial firms for information. They accepted the claims made for the effects of MSEs, but translated these claims in the light of their beliefs about the needs of their student population. Calls are made for education departments to provide more information and support to schools when they make decisions about the use of resources and to support schools in making objective evaluations of the outcomes of use of MSEs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-290
Number of pages15
JournalEducation and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

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