Light therapy, from Holland with
By: Richard Weir
"Inside a former factory on a desolate Sunset Park block, a kaleidoscope
of psychedelic lights illuminates the walls of a darkened white room.
But the strands of multicolored lights and sea of lava bubbles projected onto
the wall above a waterbed are not the decor of a trendy new nightclub.
Instead, they are part of a "Snoezelen multisensory environment," a therapy used
to treat people like Jeremia Staggers, who was born with cerebral palsy and
The 24-year-old Brownsville woman, who uses a wheelchair, also suffers from
hemiparesis - a condition that causes a misfiring of her tightly bound muscles.
Upon entering the Snoezelen room at Lifespire II Day Services, a nonprofit
agency that treats adults with developmental disabilities, Jeremia's arms are as
tense as tightly twisted rubber bands.
Simply stretching her hands across her body is a Herculean task.
"For her, it's like running a marathon. It's a lot of work," says physical
therapist Rita Brooks as she tries to coax a straining Jeremia to reach across
her chest and give her a high-five."