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The Guild for Human Services

Concord, Massachusetts

When a space is designed especially for you, it creates a sense of comfort, adds confidence and makes everyone feel like they can grow and play at their own pace. The Guild for Human Services is a unique school community that serves 85 students from ages 6 to 22 who are diagnosed with intellectual disabilities, including autism, concurrent mental health diagnoses and challenging behaviors. For some, this was their first exposure to a playground.

When designing this inclusive playspace, factors such as the yellow visual cues in the surface around play areas were very important for users with visual challenges. Students with autism or other sensory processing differences have a variety of options to swing or rock as well as areas to step away from the group and recharge if they become overstimulated. Thoughtful design is key to creating an environment where everyone can find the best of themselves through play.

The play environment produces positive social, emotional and physical developmental benefits. It shapes how the participants learn and engage with each other allowing for natural progression of social skills, relationship building and emotional bonding. Plus, after time spent playing outside, they are more able and ready to learn inside the classroom.

Everyone needs and deserves a place where they can grow, develop and be challenged. The people at the Guild for Human Services now have this space and it will serve them for years to come.