To ease the sensory difficulties faced by children with intellectual disabilities, primarily of those suffering from autism, the Regional Institute of Mentally Handicapped (RIMH) is planning to come up with a Sensory Integration Garden.
Dr B S Chavan, Joint Director, RIMH, said the garden would be one-of-its-kind in the northern region. In Chandigarh, there are around 100 autistic children.
Sensory integration is a process which enables different parts of the human brain to work together so that one can interact with one’s environment effectively.
“Autistic children often face difficulties in processing sensory information such as texture, sound, smell, taste, brightness and movement. Due to this, the behavioural and educational outcomes of the children are greatly impacted,”said Dr Chavan.
The doctor said the therapy helped in improving motor skills, encouraged communication skills, increased self-esteem, and reduced aggressive behaviour.
“The Sensory Integration Garden will be equipped with textured coloured tiles and touch pads, musical fountains, and wind chimes to enhance gross motor and proprioceptive sensations,” said the doctor.
A proposal to build the garden was sent to the UT Engineering Department two months ago. The garden will be constructed behind Block C of RIMH in Sector 31. It will cost around Rs 40 lakh.
In 2013, a team of experts from RIMH had visited a similar garden in Pune to study the technicalities.
Some of the required features of the garden include a plantation area (different types of flowers for fragrance testing activities), tactile (different types of texture), water fall including pond/aquarium and boat, sand pit (to improve motor skills), tunnel, mud-pit, musical tree, a play area, and others.
Dr Chavan said, “Once we get an approval from the engineering wing, the garden will be made ready in six months.”
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