A special “sensory garden” featuring therapeutic and tactile features for children with special needs has been built by volunteers at Commonwealth Elementary school in Fullerton, Calif. and will provide inclusion opportunities for students of all abilities when it opens on Oct. 10. Planned for three years and constructed with an estimated 200 hours of labor by 30 volunteers over the summer, the sensory garden is unique because of its setting at a general education campus. It was funded by individual donations and community grants from several organizations including Autism Speaks and the Fullerton Cares Autism Foundation.
Sensory garden features include a "discovery house" structure for hands-on garden lessons, a bird sanctuary for observations of wildlife, a pebble pit area for tactile experiences, a two-person water pump to promote cooperation, raised-bed gardens for each of the school’s four special education classrooms, split log seating, a stepping stone pathway for motor planning, and herbs for taste and smell experiences. Future plans include an exterior wall, seating, a reading gazebo, garden instruments and volunteer hours for upkeep. Anyone interested in participating or lending support is encouraged to visit the Fullerton Cares Facebook page or donate to Fullerton Cares at https://www.facebook.com/FullertonCaresAutismFoundation.
Read more about the garden from Fox LA Anchor Tony McEwing.