Environmental enrichment leads to better brains
Animal studies have shown for a very long time that an enriched environment that provides more sensory and motor experiences leads to improvements in brain development.
In 1947 Donald Hebb found that rats raised as pets performed better on problem-solving tests than rats raised in cages (1).
In the 1960’s Mark Rosenzweig showed the measurable differences between the brains of rats raised in small cages, and the brains of rats that had access to all sorts of toys and could play with other rats.
Rosenzweig established that environmental enrichment increased the size and weight of their brains. The brains of the enriched rats had more brain cells, more connections, and a stronger auxiliary system to support this enhanced brain activity (2).
- Hebb DO (1947). “The effects of early experience on problem solving at maturity”. American Psychologist 2: 306–7.
- Krech D, Rosenzweig MR, Bennett EL (December 1960). “Effects of environmental complexity and training on brain chemistry”. J Comp Physiol Psychol 53 (6): 509–19.
Early implementation in humans
In the 1990’s Claudie Pomares, MSEd used the existing research on environmental enrichment to develop a program of sensory enrichment to help children.
After 20 years of consistent results in numerous case studies, two randomized controlled studies have now been published validating Sensory Enrichment Therapy™ as a basis for a new treatment model for children with autism 1, 2.
Further studies are currently underway extending our understanding of the effectiveness of this approach as an autism therapy, as well as exploring the benefits of Sensory Enrichment Therapy™ for ADHD and other neurological disorders.
A Few Minutes a Day
You and your loved one will be doing a handful of game-like sensory enrichment activities at home each day.
Each day, you do a 10-minute session with your loved one, not only helping with symptoms, but also providing quality time together.