Making a Community Center a More Welcoming Place—With the Help of a Few Weighted Blankets
When we think about making spaces accessible, we usually think about physical accommodations—ramps and elevators, wide doorways and bathrooms that wheelchairs can roll into. But for a space to be truly accessible to all, it needs to be a welcoming and warm haven for those with disabilities not visible to the naked eye.
On a small island on the West Coast of Canada, the board members at Mayne Island Early Child Society are hoping to transform the Mayne Island Family Place into a communal space designed to accommodate children with sensory needs. That population includes some of their loved ones. The board plans to use our grant to purchase noise-reducing headphones, weighted blankets and stuffed animals (we’re fans of Hugimals!), and speciality lighting so that kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ADHD can take part in island activities and learn skills that will help them lead more independent lives later on. These interventions may seem small or modest, but they can make all the difference to children who would otherwise be excluded. The heart is all there. With our grant, everyone on the island will be able to feel it.
“The Family Place is physically accessible,” the board points out, “but let’s make it mentally and emotionally accessible too!”