Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dedication of The Carrot Seed Sensory Nook @ Aidan's Place

Los Angeles - The Department of Recreation and Parks and Shane's Inspiration have created a strong and effective partnership over the last 12 years. Together we have built 17 Universally Accessible Playgrounds (UAPs) throughout the City of Los Angeles and revolutionized playground design and utilization. On December 9, we dedicated a Sensory Story Nook at Aidan's Place UAP at Westwood Recreation Complex and reached a new level of limitless play.

Opened in December 2001, the UAP at Westwood was dedicated in memory of Aidan James Gaffney whose parents initiated the project after visiting Shane's Inspiration in Griffith Park. Aidan was born with a rare muscular disorder that left him dependent on a ventilator and wheelchair. Aidan's Place was the second fully accessible playground in the United States.

The Gaffney Family have continued to support Aidan's Place and decided to create a special addition to the playground by raising funds for a Sensory Story Nook inspired by Aidan's favorite book, The Carrot Seed.

The new Carrot Seed Sensory Nook at Aidan's Place is a passive area for reading books with children or for quiet contemplation. The Nook is an ideal place for children with autism or other cognitive disabilities to withdraw from the action of the playground if it becomes overwhelming. It is designed so that the Redwood trees will eventually grow tall enough to provide a sense of enclosure to the space.

Two giant carrots are at the entrance of the sensory nook and the back of the sensory wall is tiled to depict the story of The Carrot Seed. Michelle Griffoul Studios created the tiles as a labor of love. The tiles are different textures and the letters are raised to aid children with sight impairment. There are buttons on the back of the wall that when pushed will emit different nature sounds. This will help children learn cause and effect and will also increase cognitive ability through identifying sounds and their sources. The inside of the nook is decorated with tiles created by Aidan's brothers and their second grade classmates. In addition, there is a poem dedicated to Aidan by his mother, Nicole.
The dedication was a special day for RAP and Aidan's Family. The Gaffney Family attended the celebration and Aidan's brothers helped cut the ribbon and officially open The Carrot Seed Sensory Nook.
Aidan's Place & The Carrot Seed Sensory Nook are located at Westwood Recreation Complex, 1350 Sepulveda in Los Angeles 9005. For more information on this location or the Department visit or call 213.202.2700.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Andrea Epstein: 213.202.2690 Amy A. Garcia: 213.202.2689

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