A new sensory space, which provides a safe and engaging place for families to explore, has been officially opened in Palmerston North by Mayor Grant Smith and Enable New Zealand General Manager Michelle Riwai.
Nestled within the EASIE Living Centre on Main Street, this new initiative contains an array of equipment and materials that can stimulate or soothe the senses through light, sound and touch. The space allows the user to control their environment, and they can stimulate their senses with a range of different objects, textures, things to touch and move, and sounds.
Andrea Crutchley, Business Development Manager at Enable New Zealand who has managed the project alongside EASIE Living Centre Manager Demelsa Burnand said: “We felt there was an opportunity to provide a sensory space for those who are looking for a safe space to explore. We’ve worked closely with organisations locally such as Altogether Autism, Autism NZ, Parent to Parent and Mana Whaikaha to determine what kind of resources could be included and we’re really looking forward to welcoming families into the space to see what they think.”
“We’re so grateful to a range of suppliers who have provided their products for the benefit of the sensory space,” says Demelsa.
“We’ve got things like weighted blankets and toys and fabulous bubble tubes [pictured], bean bags, a textured wall and a board full of switches to interact with.”
Research shows that sensory spaces such as this can help with language development, improved coordination and motor development and an increase in calmness.
Officially cutting the ribbon, Mayor Grant Smith said, “this is a fantastic addition to Palmerston North and I am sure that kids and families will absolutely love it. We’re keen to see what the feedback is so we can assess the benefits and needs of more of these spaces across our city.”
The space is free to visit, and is open to everyone, young and old who feel they would benefit from the sensory features. “It’s a work in progress,” explains Andrea. “Over time we will refine it and develop it further depending on the feedback we receive. We’re at the early stages of this project and look forward to engaging with the community around this.”
The sensory space is available to book for one-hour slots, Monday to Friday and is completely free to use. To book or find out more information call 06 353 2743 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find us at EASIE Living, 585 Main Street, Palmerston North. There is limited free customer parking outside, or numerous 2 hour parks in the roads surrounding the centre.