Play-Place for Autistic Children, a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, debuts their facility for children affected by autism and other special needs on Monday August 1, at 10am in Sterling Heights.
Known colloquially as Play-Place, it is the first facility of its kind anywhere in the world. The 25,000 square foot center features a Lego Room, Computer Cafe, 29-seat Venetian Carousel, Art Room, Parent Bistro, Haircut Hut, and much more, all tailored to the needs of children and families affected by autism. A full list of features can be found on the Play-Place website.
Families are encouraged to stop in and check out the multitudes of activities and programming available. The entrance fee is an affordable $7 per person.
"In addition to the Disneyland-like effect our facility has, we also want to be affordable, so families from many backgrounds can enjoy our features," said Shell Jones, Executive Director of Play-Place.
In addition to free play, Play-Place has numerous classes similar to after-school programs. Classes include things like Lego Robotics, music, art, 4th Wall Theatre classes, drum instruction, and more.
Play-Place has in-house resources for children and parents alike, through third-party partners. Speech therapists from ABC Therapy will work to improve children's speech; autism diagnosing and ABA therapy will be done by Centria Healthcare; and The Knead To Heal has already begun taking appointments for massage therapy.
"The idea is to have many services under one roof," said Jones. "My personal experience dictates a new norm which is always changing. Play-Place wants to help simplify the challenge by offering opportunity and development through inclusion, acceptance and support for the whole family."
Ahead of their August 1 Grand Opening, Play-Place staff have fielded calls from as far away as New Jersey, Texas, and Australia. People ask about local hotels, restaurants, and other travel amenities.
Play-Place's $1.5 million construction was made possible by over 80 construction companies and labor unions, who donated their labor, materials, and expertise. They will be honored on the Play-Place "Construction Heroes" wall, within the facility.
"As a nonprofit, we have to pinch every penny and we certainly do not have a couple million dollars lying around," said Jones. "Without the generosity of our Construction Heroes, corporate donors, business sponsors, and dedicated families, this vision could not have been possible."
You can find out more about Play-Place for Autistic Children by visiting autisticplayplace.org or by calling 586-254-6533. They are currently accepting monetary donations.
More on Play-Place Construction Heroes: autisticplayplace.org/heroes