Magical Gardens for the Blind,
Deaf, and Disabled
Elizabeth Picciuto has written a marvelous article on the benefits of what she calls "sensory gardens." Ms. Picciuto is the mother of a child with a disability who attends a public school in Washington DC. The school has fewer than 100 students, and all of them have special needs. She writes that her son is thriving at the school -- in part, due to the greenhouse and garden program.
Among the many benefits of gardens and plant care, children develop calmness and emotional regulation. In addition, the caring for garden plants encourages children to acquire knowledge about plants and develop skills to start and maintain plant life. Ms. Picciuto quotes Amy Wagenfeld, a professor of Occupational Therapy (and author of an upcoming book titled Therapeutic Gardens: Design for Healing Spaces) as touting the garden's ability to "systematically and sensitively nourish the five basic senses." In addition, the gardens provide vestibular, proprioceptive, and kinesthetic input.
For those wishing to read more on the subject, Ms. Picciuto also recommends Therapeutic Landscapes: An Evidence-Based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces. If anyone has specific questions, Ms. Picciuto can be reached on Twitter at @epicciuto.
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