In Memoriam Linda Messbauer
In beginning March 2021 Linda Messbauer passed away at the age of 71.
Linda Messbauer was one of the leading experts in the USA on Multi-Sensory Environments. Linda graduated from New York University with a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy. She has over thirty years of experience working in the field of Developmental Disabilities. Linda works from early intervention to adult services with a variety of diagnoses. She has been a Director for United Cerebral Palsy of NYC, Rehabilitation Coordinator, and a private consultant to both public service agencies and private corporations. She had the unique opportunity to work at the infamous Willowbrook State School and learned a great deal about environments and their impact on individuals. It was there that she read an article about Snoezelen and knew some day she would work with it.
In 1992, she designed and established the first Snoezelen room in the United States in New York. Linda has participated and published research on the efficacy of this treatment venue. She was an international speaker and trainer on the subject of Multi-sensory Environments. She was a founding member of the American Association of Multi-sensory Environments.
Linda originally developed her approach while serving children and adults with severe, challenging behaviors. She had the pioneer spirit to say that their quality of life mattered, at a time when some American institutions were doing little more than warehousing the people she loved so well.
Linda has also been a board member of the International Snoezelen Association- Multisensory Environment (ISNA-MSE) for a number of years.
In recent years she had often felt very lonely. Shortly before her death, there were plans for Linda to move to the Netherlands because she was very conjoined in Pennsylvania. She already had contact about this plan with her Dutch friend Ilse Achterberg with which she had been cooperated for years. Four weeks before her death, she felt unwell and was admitted to a New York hospital. It turned out that the cancer had spread all over her body. She eventually died in a hospice.
Linda was a special woman who unconventional passed on her vision of people with disabilities to her audience.
Because of Linda’s death, we lose a special person and colleague.