Developing skills through sensory pathways
New upgrades at One Kids Place Children's Treatment Centre in North Bay features four hallways with various maps and activities that therapists can use as sensory exercises with patients.
The activity hallways, also called sensory pathways, are designed to help kids focus and develop motor skills, like hand-eye coordination.
Denis Filiatrault is the executive director of the organization.
"Some kids have heightened senses at times and others have lower senses. So, these are opportunities for them to be able to create that sensation of heightening them or actually lowering that sensation to calm and organize their bodies," said Filiatrault.
Sensory paths like this are relatively new to Ontario.
They've only been used on the west coast and in the Prairie Provinces, but now, thanks to a donation made by the Farqhuar family, children at the centre in North Bay will be able to use them too.
"They're designed not only just to be fancy, distractive, and colourful, but they're also, they all have therapeutic needs built into them," said donor Ryan Farquhar.
So how do these pathways work?
"They would ask them to kind of follow the road with their feet, one foot in front of the other in terms to create some balance and some coordination, as well. And the motor skills as well, like the hand-eye coordination, so bending down and touching one of the signs or touching one of the blue cars or the red cars," said Filiatrault.
The Farquhars say they brought their son to One Kids Place years ago, when the sensory pathways weren't an option, but they're happy to see them benefit other families.
"If other families can realize the change in their son or daughter the way that we have, and they can benefit and enhance their relationship with their friends, or other ways they get through their daily lives, not just school, then that's great," said Ryan.
One Kids Place say the four uniquely designed hallways will be used for individual play, as well as learning exercises and 'brain breaks' between programs.