Educational playground hosts sensory-friendly event for children

SPRINGFIELD,Mo. (KY3) - Itty Bitty City made modifications Sunday for children with Autism and sensory processing differences.

The business' owner, Fawn Rechkemmer, said she partners with Pamela Witt from The Equine Discovery Center once every few months to make the City a little more accessible.

"We turn down the lights in the back of the building so it just makes a kind of calmer setting and then we also turn off the music that we have playing just to kind of remove that extra noise," said Rechkemmer.

One attendee, Marji Hughes, just received guardianship for her two children in April. She said bringing them to Itty Bitty City can be overwhelming during the its normal hours.

"There's a lot less going on with the noise, with the lights [and] with the background music," Hughes said. "He's able to explore his environment without the distractions and getting amped-up and overwhelmed by everything that's going on around him."

Rechkemmer said her goal is to help all children feel comfortable.

"It hopefully will empower those families to see that their kids can can get used to the space in a kind of less chaotic setting than it normally is, but so that they can build up their confidence to just come and play in the center whenever they want to," she said.

Each sensory friendly event cost $10. That price covers one child and two adults for two hours.

"The event isn't a money maker for us," said Rechkemmer. "It's something we wanted to do to provide a resource to the community and the surrounding areas."

For some families, this event is something they never want to miss.

"I actually had forgotten that we were going to do this today," said Hughes. "I was in the middle of cooking dinner and I got Pamela's text message and immediately dropped everything to come here because it means that much to us."

Itty Bitty City will go sensory friendly again on Nov. 10 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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