Learning While Playing: Unique Playground For Students With Special Needs

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (June 10, 2014) — Students at Lincoln Developmental Center in Grand Rapids now have a new place to play. The “outdoor learning environment” was dedicated Tuesday, after a five-year fundraising campaign brought in more than $500,000 thousand dollars to complete it.

The playground was designed to benefit students with special needs. The Lincoln Developmental Center serves more than 100 students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Severe Multiple Impairments from most school districts in Kent County.

“We were very careful in choosing each piece of equipment for its therapeutic purposes for our students,” explained Principal Lisa Merritt. “”It’s brought together the three programs, the students, they’re socializing together in a manner that they haven’t had before.”

The new space is wheelchair accessible and includes pieces that help students with a variety of skills, such as sensory and motor skills.

“We knew that if we created some outdoor learning environments that were fun and motivating, we’d be able to work on those skills in a natural, fun fashion,” Merritt told FOX 17 News. “It’s been very gratifying for us to observe our kids out here.”

Merritt invites all the donors who helped make the playground possible to visit and check out the area. The public is also welcome on evenings and weekends.

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