The Association of People with Disability (APD) inaugurated the Sensory Park within its premises in Lingarajapuram, Bengaluru, with funding support from Cognizant Foundation, to help effective learning among children with disability. The event was attended by Mr. Abhijit Mukherjee, Board Member, and Mrs. K. Usha Rani, Deputy Director-New Initiatives, from APD; Subhadip Sarkar, Senior Director, Deepak, Director, and Sankarasubramanian, Associate Director from Cognizant.
The World Health Organization states that early childhood is the most important phase for overall development. Challenges faced during this period hinder the child from attaining the complete potential of development. Through the Early Intervention Program, APD aims to identify children with disability and malnutrition at the initial stages within the first six years. The intervention is traditionally done with one on one sessions by experts in the fields of physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy. This helps in minimizing the potential developmental delay and enhances child development.
In order to make learning more efficient, APD has set up a sensory park to enable children with disability, including those with hearing, speech and mobility impairments and mild cerebral palsy; to stimulate sensory experiences that in turn has a positive impact on their learning levels. The sensory park has different sections created for children to touch, feel, see and experience, through sensory stimulation. For normal children, sensory integration skills develop naturally and lead to development of neurological pathways in the brain. This does not happen for children with disabilities. So they have to be provided with an opportunity where they can experience the different sensory stimulations to improve and develop their sensory neurological integration. A child with disability has difficulties in understanding or has limited experiences of interaction, which results in delay in sensory integration. This sensory park at APD provides an opportunity for children to experience different sensory stimulation through spaces created for stimulus, response, learning, and memory.
In keeping with this objective, the design and layout of this park provides a stimulating journey through the senses, heightening awareness, and bringing positive learning experiences. The park areas are fitted with special materials required to provide the necessary stimulation, in addition to making it fun, safe, accessible and accident-free. For instance, the reflexology path, a pathway in concentric circles, scientifically stimulates the reflexes, reduces muscle tension and enables better mobility and balance. By walking on grass, sand, pebbles and water alternatively on each circle, children get stimulation of different textured surfaces.
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