Playtime at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota allows children free reign to experiment with the world around them. But for many, play brings on other unique concerns.
It is estimated that 5-16% of school-age children are affected by a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). These sensory issues may make group play overwhelming at times as the child is unable to self-regulate the sensory input around them.
To help alleviate such occurrences, the Museum recently created an “Adaptive Equipment Toolbox” for any guest to utilize.
“As a destination location that welcomes thousands of people from all over, we don’t personally know all of the visitors,” Associate Director Mike Mogard said. “We train our staff and have this toolbox that is available for any visitor to use to help make their experience the best possible.”
Mogard, a former educator, realized the need for such offerings after working with students who have an SPD. He met with the Brookings School District’s Director of Special Education, Michelle Powers, who provided further insight into the tools and training Mogard implemented.
Items available for public use include noise-reducing headphones, universal cuffs, transition timers, picture cards with maps, wrist/ankle weights, sensory vest, fidget items, sensory brushes, and sunglasses.
“Should a visitor realize that their child could benefit from any of our items, they are available at the front desk at no charge,” Mogard said. “We don’t want sensory issues to be a barrier that keeps children away, or limits the time they are here exploring.”