We often share the good news of receiving grants and what they will be used for, but this time around we’re sharing work that has been accomplished. We’re taking a look at the KeyBank Foundation Grant, and how it has allowed us to implement sensory and motor activities, provide a place for children to play outside, and train staff. And, there’s still more to come!
Over the past year, Spurwink has continued to implement therapeutic sensory and gross motor activities into Spurwink’s Willow House residential milieu through the equipment purchased through the KeyBank Foundation Grant. Willow House provides residential services for children ages 8-18 who are on the autism spectrum and with developmental and intellectual disabilities. During the 2018-19 school year, it provided therapeutic programming for 13 children.
Brook House, located on the border of Portland and Westbrook, opened in August of 2017. The new residential location afforded the program a large yard with room for kids to play. Valerie Allen, Program Director, shared: “As the residence filled up, and more children came to live at the campus we realized that despite the huge space, we were missing a key element – things for kids to do outside! Not just things to keep kids busy and having fun but also a resource for kids to meet their multitude of sensory needs. As a residence to 16 kids on the Autism Spectrum, this is no easy feat. It became clear to us that what we needed was a playground! Our residents agreed.” Through the KeyBank funds, Spurwink was able to purchase and install playground equipment at the Brook location.
Through training and support from an Occupational Therapist, residential staff members continue to develop foundation knowledge and confidence to help students access sensory tools to promote regulation.
More to Be Done
Spurwink will continue to train newly hired residential staff on the sensory and Occupational Therapy equipment usage regularly. In Year 3 of the grant, funds will be utilized to purchase playground equipment for Willow and Maple House, the two residences on our campus in Portland. Staff at Willow, Maple, and Brook will continue to receive training on utilizing the sensory and OT equipment and playgrounds to help clients develop strategies to address dysregulation and improve daily functioning.