By K.D. Michaels, Branson Globe Staff Writer
A new service dedicated to the children in the Branson Tri Lakes area has been added to the ever-growing Elevate Branson campus.
Elevate Kids Director Cathy Brown explained, “It’s a Sensory Room. We have a magnetic chalkboard, a huge Light Brite, games for children of all ages, Thera-putty, just so many fun things. It doesn’t matter what age, the kids just love this room!”
The sensory room also offers a trampoline, bouncing balls, a spinner board, and even a giant air wave machine which was built by an Elevate Branson board member.
“The kids have to really work together on the air wave machine,” Brown noted. “They just think it’s so much fun. We use the trampoline a lot. And, the Light Brite, the kids just have to use all their muscles. A kid is wound up, and you say ‘Let’s build something,’ and they get to work. You can just see their muscles relax.”
Brown also added that the spinning board is popular with a particular set of visitors. “Our little ones with autism just love it,” she noted. “They can sit and spin on it for hours, it really calms them.”
While the Sensory Room will be available to any child in our community, it is especially beneficial to some.
“With the population that we work with, we often see kids with behavioral issues, autism, whatever,” said Brown. “This room is just kind of our calming room. Some kids can stay in here for hours. For some, they come in for just a few minutes, and they are calmed down, relaxed, and ready to get back to the topic at hand.”
Currently, the Sensory Room is available to children of Elevate Branson clients who may be on campus for other programs or services, such as the Gateway Branson Church service or the Jobs for Life Program. The room can also be used by families for supervised visits through the Division of Family Services.
“Right now, parents can come in and use our room with their kids. They just need to monitor their children,” noted Brown. However, there are other plans on the horizon.
“Our goal is to have the Sensory Room open on certain days, along with our Elevate Cafe. As our cafe and coffee room is open more days and hours, we want to open the Sensory Room more,” said Brown. “Parents can come in, and hang out in our cafe, have a coffee, and just relax and have a break while I’m hanging with their kids in the Sensory Room.”
The new Sensory Room is just the latest of the many services of Elevate Branson, located on Branson’s Gretna Road. For more information on all of Elevate Branson’s programs and services, visit their website at www.ElevateBranson.org.