December 2014, Quakertown, PA. On Monday night, cheers, applause and lots of laughter erupted from the Theraplay, Inc. outpatient center at 2100 Quaker Pointe Drive as visiting 5th graders from Corpus Christi Catholic School paired with patients to participate in a unique type of basketball game, designed specifically for children with physical disabilities. “The Packing Peanuts, ” as the team of 5th graders are called, created the game as part of a class project and eagerly gathered at Theraplay’s Quakertown Center to give two lucky patients a chance to test the game for themselves.
Theraplay provides high-quality physical, occupational, speech and feeding therapy services for children from birth through age 21 – entirely revolved around the power of play. With “play” as the focus of every treatment session, Center Manager and speech-language pathologist, Courtney Klinger, was excited to host The Packing Peanuts. “We’re always looking for new ways to incorporate games and activities into our therapy sessions,” says Klinger, “Having The Packing Peanuts join us is a great way to connect with other children in our community while still working to meet the specific goals of our patients.”
The game, known as “Target Toss” was designed by the Peanuts to teach children with certain physical challenges, such as visual impairments or upper body weakness, how to shoot a basketball free throw. With two targets to aim for, both outlined in bright red tape, each player has a choice of pushing their ball into either the lower or higher hole. Bells hang from the top of both holes so that each score is accompanied by a fun sound – signaling to the shooter that he or she has made a “basket.” A helpful ball return is built-in as well.
“Theraplay strives to create a functionally playful environment that allows a kid to be a kid.” states Klinger. “It’s heartwarming to see students who care about their peers and want to help in a real and creative way.”
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