Dear members and friends of ISNA,
It has only been a month since the German delegation has returned from the International Congress in Seoul in Korea. Then two weeks ago we had our Symposium with members meeting here in Berlin which was sadly hindered by the train strike. And now we are busy planning for 2015.
But I am getting ahead of myself:
The 12th International Snoezelen Congress in Seoul from the 3rd to the 5th of October 2014 has impressed the European participants. The Asian culture, our hosts' kindness and warmth, their modest and demure attentiveness and their great hospitality have touched us deeply. Guests from Asian regions such as Malaysia and Japan but also from New Zealand and Australia as well as guests from different parts of Europe were overwhelmed by the congress programme. Participants received an insight into the extensive work in the spaciously laid out Seoul Community Rehabilitation Centre. The centre started their work in 1982 and recruits experts from all over the world. It has been honoured by the ministry of health and social welfare as best institution (grade A) on several occasions - last in 2011.
The entire staff as well as parents were involved in the celebrations of the congress. A group of young people and adults demonstrated their traditional rhythms with drums and kettledrums. Children from the clinic dressed in authentic costumes performed traditional Korean dances with great enthusiasm. We admired a tenor - the bus driver - who sang many well-known arias in collaboration with a choir before a rock band, made up of staff members from different departments, made sure that the guests from all over the world were able to release their emotions.
The German delegation showed their appreciation at the closing celebration with a self-composed rhyme.
The main lecturers and workshops scientifically underpinned and exemplified the diversity of Snoezelen. Around half of the 100 participants came from the home nation and Snoezelen is not a new concept to them. This form of intervention, further developed by Prof. Dr. Krista Mertens from the Humboldt University, Berlin, is being taught at this unique training and educational centre as an additional qualification for the last five years. The main lectures and 20 workshops such as "The Korean script in pictures", "The Korean national holiday 'Chusek' (full moon festival)", "Fairytale wonderland", "Korea - experiences from my youth", "Asian meditation" successfully combined the two cultures within the specific field of Snoezelen as relaxation, support and therapy method. The largest Korean culture channel "Korean Broadcasting System " (KBS) conducted two interviews with Prof. Mertens - one of which also was broadcasted in German on "KBS World".
A congress book with all articles in Korean, English and German will be produced by the Seoul Community Rehabilitation Centre with the help of ISNA.
The congress trip to the Odaesan National park and the Naksana Temple, overlooking the Sea of Japan offered participants plenty of opportunities to talk to colleagues about the congress and discuss possible future projects.
The management of the rehabilitation centre provided the German lecturers and guests with a tour bus including a driver for the four day trip. We were fascinated by the South of the country with its many UNESCO world heritage sites, stunning coastal regions as well as the architecture of Busan, a city with a population of around 3.5 million. The participants agreed that this will not be the last time they have come to this beautiful country.
PowerPoint "An unforgettable journey" by Daniela Lüttich
During the first week in November we were surprised b the train strike in Berlin which coincided with our Symposium scheduled from the 8th of November to the 10th of November 2014. The event had to go ahead regardless as we had to vote on the non-profit status of the association as required by the finance office. In a cosy get-together with a buffet and wine Prof. Dr Gerhard Neuhäuser gave a very interesting speech about "Activity and recovery in early childhood".On request of the participants the subject will be covered again in more depth. The Vivantes clinic is available to us for further training.
The unusual situation allowed us to visit the RBO Rehabilitation centre Berlin-Ost. An enthusiastic member of staff showed us around the large Snoezelen area and explained to us the different uses. The rooms are equipped to cover different aspects of rest and relaxation. Our team was also able to make some suggestions for optimisation. The Snoezelen centre is opening its doors to us for training courses. During the weekend three new members joined ISNA. A boat trip on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall along the East Side gallery and the 'light border' was a perfect end to our symposium. All in all it was a successful weekend.
whether the installation of a Snoezelen room should be combined with training courses. We see it time and time again - actually during every congress or after every training course - that participants recognise, that it would have been beneficial if they had been better informed before the room was planned. A lot of money is spent on the equipment of the room. Once the equipment is installed it comes to light that other materials would have been needed whilst other items turn out to be unnecessary. Then there is no space for more equipment because the target group was not considered. Light elements are in the wrong place or can't be adjusted. Often the room is located in a busy area (close to entrance, stairs, community room) and is unsuitable as a rest and relaxation room or has multiple use and is supposed to be used by the ergo therapist as well as offering 'timeout' for hyperactive children. Walls, ceilings and floors impede the light elements, so-called black light corners are integrated and so on.
Our association can offer you assistance before or during the planning of a Snoezelen room /area. We are not tied to any company and therefore are not financed by any. If you are planning a Snoezelen room, please get in touch. We are offering you an information day in 2015 or we are happy to come to your facility. For more information please contact our training department or any member of the board of "ISNA -Snoezelen professional e.V.".
Prof. Dr Krista Mertens