A new public therapy playground has opened at the Salem Health Campus’ Rehabilitation Center for children of all abilities. The playground features slides, see-saws, jungle gyms, and swings which give children the opportunity to play and have fun.

The features of the playground were created with all abilities in mind but offer a unique opportunity for rehabilitation patients to practice skills learned in therapy. Young patients can use the playground to practice walking, standing, sitting, speaking, and listening.

The playground’s design takes into consideration the unique needs of differently abled children. There are structures such as the “We-Saw,” a see-saw with back support for children with little upper-body strength.

The playground was constructed after three years of expert research and input from parent groups.

Phil Haworth, manager of outpatient rehab services, explained the benefits of the play area to children in rehab services.

“They get to practice social skills. This opportunity for kids of all abilities creates motivation. It creates community,” Haworth said. In addition, children are able to build confidence and develop and positive self-image.

The play area brings neighborhood children and children participating in therapy together in an environment of play and discovery.

Jowelle M. is a college student interested in sociology, political science, and Spanish. Aside from academics, Jowelle enjoys blogging, reading, music, and spending time with family. She is happiest when she is working with others to improve the community.