Ability Links NSW (ALNSW) teamed up with Playgroup NSW and SSI Community Engagement on July 12 to hold an inclusive and fun day outdoors for children from all backgrounds.
More than 15 families gathered at the Friendship Garden at Auburn Centre for Community and enjoyed a morning filled with activities designed to activate the children’s senses.
Settlement Services International (SSI), which maintains the garden with Auburn City Council, delivers the ALNSW program, supporting people with disability, their families and carers.
SSI Linkers work closely with their local communities and promote the rights of people with disability to live inclusive lives in all spheres.
“Playgroup NSW contacted SSI with the idea of doing an inclusive activity for children with disability,” said Nicole Watkins, ALNSW Community Development Coordinator at SSI.
“We decided to go for a Sensory Workshop, which is beneficial for all types of children but especially for those who have sensory-related conditions, such as autism or Asperger syndrome.”
SSI Linker Marjorie Letta invited a group of families from the Luke Priddis Foundation, which works with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She organised a bus to transport 10 people from Penrith.
The day started with an activity in which children made their own small succulent garden to take home, followed by natural jewellery making and planting climbing beans in the vegetable patch.
Madison Roland-Evans, a facilitator at Edible Kids’ Gardens, said: “the idea is to move kids away from plastic and bright colours, which nowadays they are in constant contact with, and get them to feel natural materials and textures.”
“All activities are designed to promote sensory engagement and develop their motor skills.”
The day finished with a delicious lunch, which left most of the attendees ready to go home for a well-deserved nap after so much excitement and running around.
Paygroup NSW Manager Programs and Quality Karen van Woudenberg said the event was a great way to promote inclusiveness of all types of children. She said Paygroup NSW was planning to organise more days like this with SSI.