“Let’s go play!” This simple phrase brings joy to so many. But for children with special needs, play areas can be lonely places.
At the Let’s all Play Place therapy and community play area, people of all abilities can come together in a safe environment that welcomes everyone.
The wheelchair-friendly play area enhances physical, sensory, emotional, behavioral and social skills for children and adults of all abilities—including patients of the Salem Health Rehabilitation Center.
What is there to do on the playground?
Salem Health has incorporated equipment that’s valuable for therapy and a lot of fun.
Sound tubes. These sound tubes are an outlet for language development, providing a way for children to work on speech intelligibility, expressiveness, auditory processing, interactive play and noise tolerance.
Sensory wall. Breaking down barriers is what the therapy and community play area is all about, and its sensory features do just that. The sensory wall is a prize of tactile stimulation for those with low vision or those practicing eye skills. Its variety of textures encourage multi-sensory processing and sensory tolerance.
Xylophone. The xylophone encourages sharing and is a wonderful play opportunity for those with low vision. It also helps with eye-hand coordination, timing and rhythm, noise tolerance and problem solving.
Boulder scramble. For kids who like more physical stimulation, the boulder scramble provides just the right amount of challenge. Whether they know it or not, the children hopping from one boulder to the next are putting their balance, motor coordination and strength to the test.
Balance pods. The balance pods are just the things to get kids, and adults, started off on the right track. People of all ages can see how coordinated they really are by balancing on one foot, going from pod to pod, imagining they are leaping across a river or cliff.
Group spinner. The group spinner is a merry-go-round that’s safe for people of all abilities.
We-Saw. Whatever a child’s ability, there is a seat for them on the We-Saw. While playing together, children are developing their individual core and grip strength, balance reactions and timing and rhythm.
Traditional, bucket and harness swings. Swings stimulate the vestibular system helping body awareness and alerting our listening system. They are excellent for developing core and grip strength and trunk balance. The harness swing provides safety and support and the bucket swing is friendly for people of all abilities.
Personal spinners. If it is whirling and twirling that kids desire, they can get their “dizzy” on with a personal spinner. These individual spinners will stimulate vestibular systems with balance and movement.
Interactive water feature. This equipment encourages cooperative play because children can’t do it by themselves. They can take turns pumping water and playing in the stream.
Play mound and slide. The slide is accessible to kids in walkers and wheelchairs and to all ages, shapes and sizes. Parents don’t have worry about their child climbing stairs to get to the slide.
Therapy loop. Visually defining the play area, the therapy loop is equivalent in length to a couple of football fields and accommodates mobility training, gait training and measured distance activities on a variety of slopes.
Geoball climber. The Geoball climber is the central focal point for the therapy and community play area and an opportunity for those with varying abilities to play together. Tackling this climbing web of fun takes motor planning, gross motor coordination, strength and balance.