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Sensory room helps patients with brain disorders

LED lights help patients with sight and touch (photo: Jemon Haskins).

BEDFORD, Va (WSET) -- A favorite song. The familiar sound of the rain or a smell that you love. The picture of a beloved spot.

All of these tools help bring back those memories for patients at Oakwood Health and Rehab in Bedford according to coordinators Patty Goff.

"Our brains are pretty cool. They interpret all of our organ senses,” Goff said “We use that in the sensory room to reconnect or to bypass some of those areas that might be damaged by the brain."

Colleen Sweeney has watched these tools work very well for people suffering from disorders affecting the brain: Alzheimer's, dementia and Parkinson’s Disease.

“If they don't talk outside this room, sometimes bringing them in here gets them to really open up and start talking to you,” Sweeney said. “Or opening their eyes when their eyes are usually closed. Or moving their hands when they usually don't."

"We can build on their experiences here in the sensory room and outside of it,” Goff said. “We do keep track. We do write down how they respond and build on that.”

Specialists say this doesn't work for everyone -- not all people can process everything that's going on in the sensory room.

But for those who do respond -- it can help them enhance feelings of comfort and well-being, relieve stress and pain.

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