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SensiPlay offers unique program for those with special needs

SPRINGFIELD – Kehillah, a program of the Springfield JCC, is partnering with Bay Path University’s Masters of Occupational Therapy (OT) department to offer SensiPlay, a unique program for individuals with special needs.

Sensory-based therapy is a compilation of distinctive strategies not used in general OT practices and can be cost-prohibitive to families. SensiPlay offers cost-effective, sensory motor activities that will serve as a model for other agencies.

Yindra Dixon, a committee member of Kehillah as well as the mom of a child with special needs, views SensiPlay as a benefit for both Kehillah and for Bay Path students.

“It takes a village to support the needs of children. Interaction with the Kehillah program, Bay Path University, and others in the community helps integrate special needs children into an inclusive environment while understanding the issues each child goes through.”

Each SensiPlay session will host 12 participants, divided into two age groups. Each group will include six occupational therapy students and a registered Occupational Therapist. The participants will learn tools to help with sensory needs.

“Children experience the five senses in different ways,” says Dixon. “For example, my son Parker is not simply affected by the sound of loud noises. It actually impacts his joints. Or if the wind is blowing, causing curtains to flap, it affects Parker because he sees it in his peripheral vision.”

Dixon’s family recently moved to the Springfield area. Parker and his twin sister Peyton are 9 years old, and Alex is 10 years old. The summer of 2017 was the first opportunity for Parker to be in a full-summer inclusion camp.

Sensory input, such as flapping curtains in Parker’s case, can be unwanted. SensiPlay will help identify this in each participant, and provide relief through activities. Tools will be provided to parents to continue at home.

While the first SensiPlay session is registered to capacity, additional sessions will become available in the future.

For additional information, or to be placed on the waiting list, contact Bethany Young, Director of Kehillah Programs for Individuals with Special Needs at the Springfield JCC,, or (413) 739-4715.

CAP: Yindra Dixon and her son, Parker.

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