LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 10) – Spalding University’s Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy and the Kosair Charities Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana assistive technology resource center will hold an opening reception at 4 p.m. Wednesday to preview the newly renovated Virtual Immersive Playground, a room of high-tech toys and video and sensory devices for children with special needs.
The room is located on the third floor of Spalding’s College Street Building, 812 S. Second Street, Louisville. Its construction was made possible through the support of Kosair Charities.
The Virtual Immersive Playground is the result of a renovation project started last winter to transform what had been an old band room. Risers and carpeting were removed, and a sleek, open space was created with an array of new assistive equipment, including touch-screen and gesture-recognition devices, along the walls.
The Virtual Immersive Playground will be available for children during play and therapy sessions at enTECH as well as during enTECH and ASOT’s Kosair Integrated Technology Experience (KITE) camps for children with special needs. The room was in use last week for the first five-day KITE camp of the year, and others will be held in June and July, serving students 2 ½ to 9 years old who have Down syndrome, autism, developmental delays and other physical and cognitive challenges.
The equipment in the Virtual Immersive Playground is meant to engage children in positive physical, cognitive and sensory experiences. The devices are designed to be therapeutic, educational and fun, and many are intended to teach the concept of cause and effect by using gesture-recognition and motion-sensing technology.
“The children realize that if they want to uncover something, they have to step on it. To move a ball, they have to kick the ball,” said Dr. Cindee Quake-Rapp, chair of the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy. “They learn how to interact with their environment. The touch-screens have interactive games that teach them everything – shapes, body parts, colors, numbers.
“The transformation from the old band room is stunning. I think this is going to be a real showpiece for anyone at Spalding to show people what we’re doing for the community and the kids we’re serving, thanks to Kosair Charities.”
WHAT: An opportunity for media to film or photograph high-tech toys and video and sensory devices at the opening reception of the Virtual Immersive Playground and gather interviews from Spalding and enTECH leaders.
WHEN: 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, April 11. Remarks from Spalding leaders will be made at approximately 4:15.
WHERE: Spalding’s College Street Center/enTECH, 812 South Second St. The Virtual Immersive Playground is on the third floor (elevator stop “3R”).