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Monroeville native creates sensory play wall to help children with disabilities

A Monroeville native and her team are creating an interactive play wall for children with disabilities to help them improve coordination, problem-solving, and other skills.

Posted: Dec 2, 2019 12:39 PM
Updated: Dec 2, 2019 2:16 PM

MUNCIE, Ind. (WFFT) — Ball State University senior and Monroeville native Madison Castleman and her team are creating an interactive play wall for children with disabilities to help them improve coordination, problem-solving, and other skills.

The team is partnering with the Children’s TherAplay Foundation in Carmel, which provides physical and occupational therapies on horseback for children with diagnoses such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, traumatic brain injury, and developmental delays.

“I am designing a sensory wall piece that can also be folded down to a table,” Castleman said. “The sensory wall will have activities such as a sensory gel pad, a mini plinko game, and light up shapes. When the wall piece is folded down, it reveals a table with more sensory activities such as a kinetic sand pit, shoe laces to help with hand motor skills and learning to tie, and a magnetic ball maze.”

The immersive learning course, led by Dr. Shireen Kanakri, associate professor of interior design, is a continuation from last semester, when students helped to propose a new design for the entire building at Children’s TherAplay Foundation.

In this phase of the project, students are designing furniture pieces, including a sensory wall, a cruising wall, a ramp bridge, and more.

“We are specifically designing the pieces that will be used to help treat the children,” Kanakri said. “Everything will be tested here, in our labs, before they are implemented at the facility in Carmel.”

Castleman will be graduating in May with a degree in interior design.

“I have had to do a lot of research on autism, Down syndrome, and other disabilities and how people who live with them are affected by the world,” Castleman said. “This knowledge will help me in the future when designing public spaces and how to keep these people in mind so that my designs can be used by all.”

Castleman said Ball State sparked her intellectually curiosity.

“I have learned so much about interior design and how to use my knowledge in the field,” Castleman said. “My professors have been so inspiring and helpful.”

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