This Mom Is Creating a Mega Play Place Where Kids With Autism Won’t Be Judged

One mom is taking an important step toward filling an ongoing need in the autism community.

When Shell Jones’s son was diagnosed with autism at age 2, his mom quickly began looking for a judgment-free community where she and her family could feel bolstered and accepted, Shell Jones told Fox News. After searching high and low, Jones realized that for her and many others, no such place existed. She set out to develop the community herself.

Jones is now the driving force behind Play-Place for Autistic Children, a play area and community center currently in the works in her hometown of Sterling Heights, Michigan. There, children with autism and their families will be able to play together free of the judgment and stares they might receive elsewhere.

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Photo via the Play-Place for Autistic Children Facebook page

The play place includes a playground, but it will be much more than that — the 25,000-square foot facility will also include a computer cafe, an art studio, calming rooms, after-school programs for children with autism and their siblings and resource management forums for parents, according to the project’s website. The venue even plans to include a haircut parlor and a sensory sensitivity-friendly movie theater.

Autism Play Place
Painted mural inside the play-place via the Play-Place for Autistic Children Facebook page
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The beginning stages of the computer cafe via the Play-Place for Autistic Children Facebook page

Every amenity in this one-of-a-kind venue is designed to interweave fun with therapeutic techniques to help children with autism develop important life skills in a nurturing environment.

[My] biggest dream for my son is for him to become a productive citizen of our community,” Jones says in the play-place campaign video below. “For him to be able to effectively communicate with others – his wants, his needs, his dislikes, his desires.”

Jones told Fox News she hopes to open the facility to the public by the end of 2015, but before that can happen, she and the Sterling Heights community have a bit more fundraising to do. To learn more about this project and find out how you can contribute, visit the Play-Place for Autistic Children website and Facebook page.

Learn more about Jones’s story and her vision for this play-place in the video below.

Learn more about the play-place and the opportunities it offers:

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