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An important acquisition for children attending (re)habilitation programmes


On 16 February 2011, the Soča University Rehabilitation Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (URI-Soča) and the Society for Quality Rehabilitation of Children of Slovenia (KROS) opened a special space for relaxation and sensory exploration named Snoezelen in the Children’s Department of the Soča Rehabilitation Institute. A large portion of the project was financed with the help of the proceeds from a charity auction of photographs taken by participants of the competitions organised by the National Geographic Junior and National Geographic Slovenija magazines. The photographs were exhibited in the show entitled In the Yellow Frame at the TR3 Gallery in Ljubljana, whereas the authors were child as well as grown-up photographers. The most expensive photograph entitled On the Street was sold at auction for 1700 EUR, which is a new record in the history of the auctions by the National Geographic of Slovenia. The instigator of the 6th National Geographic Charity Auction of Photographs was Barbara Čeferin, Director of Galerija Fotografija and the curator of the exhibition.

On this occasion URI-Soča and KROS expressed their gratitude also to the other donors. They particularly highlighted photographer Arne Hodalič, incidentally also the photographic editor of both concerning National Geographic magazines, who produced the Two Faces of the World calendar, the sale of which has helped to collect additional funds for the purchase of adapted sports equipment for children with special needs.

What is Snoezelen

The newly opened multi-sensory room (Snoezelen) enables young patients to receive information through the various senses, to establish a connection between sensory perception and movement, improve body function in the environment, as well as gain new experience. The offshoots of this therapy approach stem from the Netherlands, where it was first used in institutions for the severely mentally disabled. As the effects proved beneficial to other visitors as well, such therapy became important also in the area of education and rehabilitation. It is a guided therapy that promotes dynamic exploration and relaxation at the same time. In a room especially equipped with various technical aids, especially trained professional staff encourage the exploration of elementary experiences such as: touching, feeling, tasting, smelling, seeing and hearing, by which the young patients gain important and positive experiences about their senses.

“Various audio, visual, aromatic and other sensory effects are used in the room. In order to attain the best possible results, the appropriate professional knowledge of the therapists is also crucial. The “Snoezelen” session is prepared and carried out depending on the age and needs of the child. It is very important that the child’s responses and effects of individual stimuli on his perception and disposition are observed. Children are generally very relaxed and well disposed after their stay in the Snoezelen room,” explained medical practitioner Dr Katja Groleger Sršen, doctor at the Children’s Department of URI-Soča and President of the KROS society.

We are particularly proud of the Snoezelen therapy space at URI-Soča since it will enable us to be even more effective in the area of rehabilitation of young patients. We take this opportunity to thank our colleagues at the National Geographic Slovenija and the organisers of the Bolle Run, who recognised our endeavour and provided the necessary funds for the realization of this project. Their help will thus provide a less stressful living environment for children who have most often suffered very difficult situations and are undergoing rehabilitation with us. This in turn leads us to expect faster results in their recovery,” was explained by General Director of URI-Soča, Robert Cugelj, MSc upon the opening of the new multi-sensory room.


An entertainment programme was organised before the official opening of the room.


As part of the event awards were presented to donors. In this photograph Arne Hodalič is receiving an award.


Dr Katja Groleger Sršen, President of the KROS society, and Robert Cugelj, MSc, Director of URI-Soča, at the official opening of the Snoezelen room.


Irena Cerar, Editor-in-Chief of the National Geographic Junior with the award that Rokus Klett Publishing received for its humanitarian endeavours.