STORM LAKE, Iowa (KTIV) – A Storm Lake, Iowa non-profit that serves children with disabilities, mental health issues and chronic health conditions has a special feature to help.
For some children with intellectual disabilities, their senses can be heightened.
One way to ease this is the organization’s “sensory garden”.
“They’ll be more calm than they were before. You can tell that they just feel better. And they feel more at peace,” said Jen Thomsen, Lead Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional.
‘Faith, Hope, and Charity’, a division of Hope Haven, houses and provides programs for children and young adults with diagnoses in intellectual disabilities.
One special area on the property is the sensory garden.
The garden was created to help children who have trouble processing their normal senses.
“This is so important because most of the kids that we serve here need some sort of sensory input. Some need more than others, but almost all of them need it in one form or another,” said Thomsen.
According to Thomsen the garden allows children to experience and focus on a specific sensory stimuli.
“If a child has difficulty with a busy atmosphere around them, sometimes they need something tight to help them calm down. That’s one of the things that the trellis, that small area where they can crawl through. It gives them that feeling of being tight and safe,” said Thomsen.
The garden also allows them to hone in on other senses as well.
Including drums and pipes for sound.
Different soils to feel, and lavender to smell.
Thomsen says the garden is a great addition to the program, and she believes many children have benefited from it