In the sensory gym at Northern Arizona Healthcare’s Children’s Health Center, located at Flagstaff Medical Center, kids defy heights on the rock climbing wall and gravity on the zip lines. They climb stairs and ladders, swing from rings and bars, and land light as feathers in the crash pit. If they need quiet time, they burrow into several different spots designed for chilling out.
Not only is it lots of fun, this unique gym – funded in part by Northern Arizona Healthcare Foundation’s Machine Solutions Run – helps young patients with sensory and other challenges work on important motor, muscular, developmental and social skills.
“This room is endless for kids’ creativity and our creativity as physical, occupational and speech therapists,” said Farren Muscarella, P.T., a physical therapist with the CHC. “We use different tools to change the environment, for example, setting up an obstacle course. It makes therapy so much more fun; like a playground.”
Jamie Weber’s 11-year-old son, Aden, is at the gym regularly. It’s his favorite place.
“He uses every aspect of that room,” Weber said. “He has a very good imagination, and the gym allows him to bring to life all the things that are in it. He’ll think of something and ask his therapist, ‘Can we do this?’ Then she hooks stuff up and away we go!
“It means a lot to him. There are no limits to what he’s able to experience in there.”