Garden for autism planned for Westfield

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A new garden is planned for Freedom Trail Park, designed on serving the needs of autistic children around Hamilton County.

The Westfield Rotary is a sponsor of the new Sensory Garden, which is set for the first phase of construction on Oct. 2.  The Sensory Garden, as its name implies, is a garden for the senses, full of trees, flowers and serves as an outdoor space to engage autistic and physically and mentally disabled persons.

Over 1,300 families are impacted by autism in Hamilton County, making the park an especially unique and important project, and a particular aspect of Westfield’s Freedom Trail Park that has elicited many donations.  The Westfield Rotary has already collected $30,000 for the project.

“It’s really important for Rotarians to develop local and individual projects that benefit the community. When we brainstormed ideas, this was the one that kept coming back up in discussion,” former Rotary President Kurt Wanninger said.

Wanninger added that the Rotary has already covered the costs of the first phase, but the plans are to change the gardens according to the seasons.

The colors of the flowers will have a big impact on children with autism. President of the Hamilton County Autism Support Group, Jane Grimes explained that the colors orange, blue, green and yellow have a calming and creative effect on the brain.

“Because it is a neurological condition, the brains of children with autism are wired differently. These colors are specifically selected because the colors help children with autism begin to adapt,” Grimes said. “The bright colors really help stimulate the brain.”

Donations are being accepted by the Westfield Rotary Club for the future phases of this park. The estimated cost is of these future phases is $200,000.


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