Elise Marie Myrvang Eikeland ...
January 03, 2011
The KidSense Project, sponsored by Angels on Earth, builds special needs playgrounds for Louisiana public schools. We installed our first playground in 2009, have finished design on the second, and as of June, 2010 are past halfway in raising funds for the wheelchair tile and playground equipment. Designed for children with autism, ADHD, and physical challenges, all students use the playground together!
KidSense yards are meticulously designed as "motor sensory" playgrounds...the kind of therapy that's been used by Special Educators and Occupational Therapists for over 30 years. Some schools today have "Sensory Rooms" for this purpose, but with walls and a ceiling, kids are limited in the scale of their therapy...not to mention how loud the room can become with just a few children inside at once.
By bringing motor sensory integration OUTSIDE, we can haul in huge climbing boulders, fast & bumpy slides, little green hills to roll down. With the sky for a ceiling and the wind for their walls, kids with Autism, ADHD, or special needs have room to work out their over-stimulation. Our layout separates sensory stations so students don't feel hemmed in by dozens of others on the same structure.
So what's the benefit, other than a beautiful wheelchair accessible playground? Studies out of Temple University indicate that 95% of kids with ADHD and 91% of those with Autism have BETTER CONCENTRATION after regular sensory breaks. Teachers, para-professionals, therapists, and principals will attest to the restorative powers our first KidSense yard brings.
That's why our playgrounds go to PUBLIC SCHOOLS...we want to give kids a sharper edge toward education. In addition to accessibility, the yards feature secret Braille messages & textured murals that kids can "see" with their fingertips. While nowhere near the size of a giant recess yard, KidSense sites are just large enough so the WHOLE CLASS comes out with the kids who actually need the break.
Yes! Its called REVERSE INCLUSION...typical kids and special kids play alongside each other. Whether the student is challenged by ADHD or autism; physical or visual disabilities, the KidSense yard levels the playing for all children. And then sends them back inside to LEARN!
Check it out at http://www.KidSenseLA.com. On behalf of the kids from south Louisiana, THANK YOU FOR CARING!