LUTZ, Florida. After years of working with families living with autism, the occupational therapist decided she could do more. So earlier this year, she opened her own indoor sensory playground in Lutz.
When you enter the Milestone Zone, it may look like a normal playground until you talk to the families who bring their children there.
They will tell you that this is not normal at all; in fact, in many cases it is extraordinary.
“This is our first special needs child and so we are still figuring out where to go, what to do, what resources are available,” Father Covey Murray said.
“When I was working with kids, I saw the need for a sensory playground because there was nowhere for my kids to go on a sensory diet,” said owner Jerica Ramirez.
As a therapist, Ramirez wanted to create an atmosphere where children could achieve important results in the game, and their parents could receive valuable advice from a professional.
“I had a mother whose child was nervous when she vacuumed at home. I’m like, “Oh, put some headphones on him,” and she’s like, “I never thought about that.” So a simple piece of advice is really helpful for parents,” Ramirez said.
Since they opened in February, more than 400 families have already slid down the hill and climbed the rock wall, like Brittany Jackson and her son Frederick.
“This is a special place for people like him. I don’t have to worry about trying to explain things to other parents because there are other parents here who have similar kids, so it just makes the process easier,” Jackson said.
Ramirez made sure that each piece of equipment served a specific purpose when it came to children’s feelings.
The parents said that they not only watch their children reach milestones, but also make friends.
“I’ve already met someone here, so we’re going to do some gigs,” said Lisa Wellman.
For more information about Milestone Zone, please visit milestone.zone.