The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University celebrated a new milestone recently with the dedication of its new Developmental Playground.
Nearly 100 people braved cold, rainy weather to witness the event. Many of them cooperated to make the playground possible. Landscape architects, occupational therapists and educators worked together to ensure that it would be more than fun; it would also encourage a child’s movement, speech, cognition and social development. Private donors contributed more than $15,000 toward its construction.
The vision for the new playground came from experts at the CPD who are well aware of the many benefits of play: how it stimulates physical and social development, fosters language, and even helps a restless child relax.
The space is accessible to wheelchairs, and it’s designed to stimulate the senses of developing children.
“We wanted it to be socially inclusive,” said Keith Christensen, an assistant professor in the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department and a CPD Faculty Fellow. “It was designed for independence and learning, just to let these kids see how high they can climb.”
Everything — from the sandbox to the water elements to the plants that grow in the margins — was designed to encourage the development of the young children who receive services at the CPD. When the senses are stimulated, learning comes easier, he said.
“We all deal with sensory stimulation in different ways,” said Amy Henningsen, an occupational therapist at the CPD. “Some are much more sensitive than others. We can diagnose and treat kids with the type of input they need to help them mature in a functional way on this playground.”
For a look at children breaking in the new space, check out the CPD’s Developmental Playground Dedication photo album.
Writer: JoLynne Lyon: (435) 797-1977
Contact: Sue Olsen: (435) 797-7461