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Home / Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare

Casa Colina Hospital awarded grant to finish musical playground for kids with disabilities

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians awarded Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare a $450,000 grant toward a new Interactive Musical Playground, providing therapeutic and rehabilitative services to children and their families who have or are at risk for acquired or developmental delays in health, communication, cognitive development, and social-emotional development, the hospital announced Thursday. 

Construction is currently underway on the new playground—a play structure where objects become musical instruments, such as magical pebbles, a musical water harp, a musical staircase, and more. Through these unique, custom-designed features, all connected to function together via interactive software, the playground can be used to work with children on speech, motor, and social skills, empowering Casa Colina clinicians with a new therapeutic tool.

“The overarching goal of the musical playground is to enhance our ability to provide pediatric therapies while increasing access to music for children with disabilities—a historically marginalized population,” says Michele Alaniz, ORT/L, director of Casa Colina’s Children’s Services Center. “By adding this first-of-its-kind clinical tool, we not only improve our ability to keep young clients engaged and having fun during therapies, but we now have a customizable clinical tool that can be adjusted to meet each child’s unique needs and preferences.”

The playground features museum-quality sculptures and tactile pieces, all embedded with a network of sensors that provide exciting audio-visual interactions to users. The hardware and software are designed with input from Casa Colina’s team of licensed physical, occupational, and speech therapists, maximizing the playground’s ability to spark motivation and engagement among its pediatric clientele, which includes children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities.

The grant provided by San Manuel Band of Mission Indians funds the software that connects the playground’s interactive components and allows endless levels of customization, which will be critical to providing effective therapies. The funding also supports clinician training on the new software, as well as playground components such as magical pebbles, shade canopies, and more. Project completion and official naming are expected in late 2023.

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