What Sets Us Apart!
By Rick Napier, Patrick’s Dad & Play for All Board Member
My son Patrick is 12 years old and was diagnosed with autism at age 3. For my wife and I, it has been a whirlwind nine years with various doctors, therapists, teachers and specialists. It has been a long journey and we have befriended a lot of autism parents along the way, some of whom have children with severe sensory difficulties.
As a parent I have experienced the numerous challenges families with autistic children face, and watched other families in our community experience them as well. Which is why I am excited to work with the Play for All Playground & Garden Foundation to help build the Sensory Garden Playground and make inclusive, accessible play a reality in the western suburbs.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention puts the latest autism statistics at 1 in 59 children on the spectrum. With these numbers, clearly this project is needed and the time for this project is now.
The Sensory Garden Playground opened in 2015 and includes a 2- to 5-year-old playground, central gathering area, sound and fragrance gardens, as well as the Art Along the Way interactive sculptures. The attention given to the sensory difficulties and needs of those on the spectrum set this park apart and create a model for other communities.
Photo: Rick Napier with son Patrick
This park has meant so much for families like ours.
Because of your generous support, construction has begun on the accessible tree house. Such a structure is more appropriate than monkey bars, fire poles and balance beams for those with physical disabilities who benefit more from interactives than climbing walls and still want to spend time in nature.
The tree house will allow the park to better serve children of all ages while providing those in wheelchairs and gross motor difficulties the same opportunity as any other child.
As a Wheaton Park District employee and resident, I’m proud of all of our parks. But the Sensory Garden Playground is very special to me personally, and it is a blessing to have for the community and surrounding areas. And there’s more to come! With your support, future phases of the park are being planned.
On behalf of my family and the families that we impact every day, thank you for continuing to support the project today and into the future.
Tree House Update
The tree house construction is underway!
Soon visitors will be able to climb to the tree tops in our fully accessible tree house. And, thanks to
additional donations from Main Street Association of Realtors and First Trust, the tree house will include a few additional amenities like a Group Deck Spinner and Slides.
Tube slides provide children with improved coordination, balance and social skills, in addition to promoting healthy physical challenges for both upper and lower body strength.
Group Deck Spinners provide a fun way for kids to gain the valuable spinning motion they need for healthy growth and development. It allows easy access for those who use wheelchairs and can
transfer. The spinner can accommodate a large number of kids on the platform, between cables, and on the ground so that friends can play together.
Tree Top Swings Are Here
Thank you Kevin Lavin and Homer Tree Services for the generous donation of mulch material for underneath the swings and tree house.
Become a Fence Friend
During our planning meetings, families expressed the importance of fencing around the playground, and we are committed to providing a safe border. 200 panels are all it takes, and so far we have 10
panels. You can help and become a Fence Friend by donating $50 which provides one fence panel.
Donate at playforalldupage.org or text in your donation to 630.345.4111 with the keyword FENCE.
What We’ve Been Up To
Kid’s Obstacle Challenge
Thank you to the Kid’s Obstacle Challenge for holding its event this July at the Sensory Garden Playground at Danada South Park and its support.
On August 10 & 11, the Sensory Garden Playground enjoyed a weekend at Veggie Fest. This amazing event resulted in $15,000 in donations to the Sensory Garden playground project! We are grateful for the continued support from the Science of Spirituality.
August Play Day
On Saturday, August 17, the DuPage County Historical Museum offered children’s games. Annie with Keller Williams and Frank with Neighborhood Loans joined the fun and provided giveaways for the first 50 families. Wheaton Warrenville Special Needs PTA was onsite along with DuPage Medical Group offering its ever popular Teddy Bear Clinic.
September Play Day
The September 21 event replaced the July Play Day that was cancelled due to the extreme heat. Thank you Canine Companions for Independence, Kidlist and DuPage Medical Group for providing the fun.
Look for Jack’s Pumpkin Glow: A Pumpkin Wonderland event this October at the playground.
A sensory friendly day is planned for Sunday, October 6. For more information visit glowpumpkin.com. (This is a park rental and is not being planned by the Play for All Playground & Garden Foundation.)
There is a new easier way to donate!
Simply text the word PLAY to 630.345.4111 to receive a donation link.
The Play for All Playground and Garden Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit and donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law.