Speedway Children’s Charities Awards Grant for Sensory Motor Gym
Ball pits and swings help Callier Center patients develop sensory, communication and motor skills in individual speech-language therapy as well as group programs.
Speedway Children’s Charities at Texas Motor Speedway presented the Founders Grant in the amount of $146,830 to UT Dallas' Callier Center for Communication Disorders at a ceremony. The funds will be used to build a state-of-the-art sensory motor gym in the children’s wing of the new Callier Center Expansion in Richardson, scheduled for completion in the fall of 2016.
The Founders Grant program is an impact grant initiative that serves children in need of medical, educational or social services in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties. Each year, numerous North Texas nonprofit organizations apply. This year, the Callier Center was the only organization chosen to receive the grant.
“Making a difference in the life of a child is as good as it gets,” said Scott Murray, past president and advisory board member of Speedway Children’s Charities. “And, the more the members of our board learned about the great legacy of the Callier Center and its plans moving forward with the new sensory motor gym, the more we felt this is something we’d be privileged and most proud to be a part of.”
The sensory motor gym will support speech and language therapy services for children struggling with communication as a result of developmental delays, autism spectrum disorder, motor-speech disorder, feeding/swallowing disorder, articulation disorder or cognitive impairment.
“The sensory motor gym will be a vital component of the therapeutic interventions available to children with communication disorders and will make a significant impact in the developmental outcomes of these children,” said Dr. Thomas Campbell, Ludwig A. Michael, MD, Executive Director of the Callier Center and Sara T. Martineau Professor. “It is an honor and a privilege to receive this grant, and we are grateful and excited to see the lives of our patients and families transformed as a result.”
“Making a difference in the life of a child is as good as it gets. And, the more the members of our board learned about the great legacy of the Callier Center and its plans moving forward with the new sensory motor gym, the more we felt this is something we'd be privileged and most proud to be a part of. ”
Speech-language pathologists will use the specially designed space for individual therapy as well as group programs to help children develop sensory, communication and motor skills in a fun, nonthreatening environment. Bright, colorful walls, covered swings, ball pits and climbing walls will provide a stress-free place for children to work on speech and language skills, motor skills and coordination, cognitive development, behavioral and social skills, and cause-effect reasoning.
Clinicians will use gross motor equipment to teach children communication skills through motor imitation, motor play and sensory exploration.
“Often, we have patients who are more communicative during a gross motor activity, where they are engaging more muscles and moving around, than they are during a tabletop activity,” said Jenny McGlothlin, speech-language pathologist at the Callier Center. “The sensory motor gym gives us more opportunities to engage these children.”
Patients may be brought to the gym to take a sensory break, regulate their behavior or engage in one-on-one intervention in a motivating way. The room also will serve as a place to conduct large-group social communicative activities such as wheelbarrow races, duck-duck-goose or other therapeutic games.
In addition to providing a unique treatment space for patients, the sensory motor gym will serve as a training ground to prepare students to become the next generation of highly skilled clinical providers. The speech-language pathology program in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences is one of the largest and most successful graduate clinical training programs in the country. Under the supervision of certified speech-language pathologists, graduate students will have the opportunity to gain experience conducting gross and fine motor activities with patients in the gym.
The Callier Center Expansion was made possible through contributions by many supporters. Naming opportunities are available.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].