The New Playground is Here! The New Playground is Here!

i Jul 17th 3 Comments by

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After a week’s vacation and a week of the backyard being off-limits, you can only imagine the students’ joy at being allowed out back to The New NSSA Playground! Not only did the playground get a total makeover with a rubber surface system (very cushy on the feet and much more forgiving if a child takes a spill), there are also two new features – a “zipline” swing and a “cozy cocoon” (that spins!)!

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Of course, there are still all the old favorites – swings, slide, basketball, etc., but the children seem pleased at some new variety.

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The playground rebuild was an important project for NSSA as we have found the old engineered wood shred surface to be very challenging for use with children with autism – shred getting into students’ eyes and creating intolerable discomfort in the summer when shred would get caught in sandals and toes. It also required a lot of upkeep keeping it mushroom-free and level. The new surface is much safer, ensuring that our playground continues to provide a natural instructional environment where leisure and play skills can be taught.

The NSSA playground also plays a vital role in the academic and behavioral success of our students. Because it is so well-loved by our students, the playground serves as a powerful reinforcer. To motivate students to positive behavior and skill acquisition, instructors offer each student a choice from a variety of potential rewards in advance of instruction. The student receives the selected reinforcer only if he is successful at the lesson being taught. At NSSA’s programs we increasingly see time on the playground selected as a reinforcer for successful skill acquisition and/or appropriate behavior.

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We’d like to thank the following funders for making this wonderful (and fun!) project possible:

The Andy Foundation
Ronald McDonald House Charities of the NY Tri-State Area
Ronald McDonald House Charities Global
The Kohnen Family Foundation
Schulz Charitable Foundation
The Jack Fanning Memorial Foundation “Angels for Autism”

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