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New Sensory Playground at Ronkonkoma Early Childhood Center

DDI staff and former YAPCF board members

YAPCF’s generous donation of this sensory playground will impact over 200 children served at this location of DDI.  YAPCF is a parent-run charitable organization formed to assist in enhancing the learning experience for students and their families. The board members of YAPCF wanted to support DDI’s Early Childhood Services in a meaningful way for students that would last for years to come.

Collage of DDI staff, YAPF board members and playground equipment

While the campus had a traditional playground and an outdoor classroom, there was a need for pieces that specifically met the children’s sensory needs. All children benefit from playing in areas that feature sensory-stimulating equipment. In addition to the fun that they provide, they also promote physical, social, and cognitive development and encourage creativity in all children.

Outdoor sensory play equipment is also widely considered an ideal choice for children who may be on the autism spectrum or who may have sensory processing disorders (SPD). Certain components of this equipment, for example, can be more quiet and soothing or calming to children with autism. A sensory playground can also help children with SPD, as it can help them adjust to various levels of stimulation.

Playground committee and YAPCF board members

DDI’s Playground Committee, consisting of YAPCF members and DDI administrators, clinicians, and supervisors, researched the project and handpicked each piece of equipment to meet the children’s visual, vestibular, and tactile needs. The playground was designed and installed by Game Time PlayCore.

As the children began exploring their new play pieces, there were smiles and giggles galore. “This is the best playground I’ve ever seen,” commented one of the students, Katerina, as she delighted in testing out the new play space.

Christine Racca, program director of DDI’s Early Childhood Center for Autism, commented, "YAPCF has supported the students and families of DDI’s Early Childhood Services in countless ways. This playground will forever remind us of their generosity, support, and commitment to meeting the needs of all the children served. We are so very thankful to YAPCF and look forward to seeing the students enjoy this playground for years to come!"