“Sensory playground” built for kids with special needs

sensory playground CNN

(CNN) – Parents of special needs children know that a trip to the playground often isn’t as simple as it sounds. That’s where “Sensations Therafun” comes in.

Kimberly Dick’s 8-year-old son, Caleb, is new to whizzing down this zipline all by himself.

“I don’t know if it was heights or why, but was always really nervous to be doing the zipline and over the last two years, we’ve been really working on that.”

Caleb is autistic. Once a week, he comes to Sensations Therafun in Atlanta, Georgia. The facility is designed for kids not only on the autism spectrum including Asperger’s, but also for those with ADHD, Down’s syndrome or any type of sensory processing disorder.

The equipment is designed to help stimulate their senses to help them work better, says founder Jay Perkins.

“They know it’s their space. There’s not a competitive nature to it, not trying to do something better than the kid next to you.  The pressure is off.”

And instead of being anxious, the kids are comfortable.

“Kids are working on developmental, physical, sensory and they don’t even know it because it’s not in that clinical setting.  It’s not forced on them that they have to work on these goals.”

The result?  Perkins sees it daily: kids doing things they otherwise couldn’t do anywhere else.

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