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.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 12.31.49 PM
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
Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 12.53.05 PM
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:

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

When a Stranger Shared Her Experience as a Special Needs Sibling

I received a private message a few months ago from a complete stranger. Her message was warm, kind, and sincere. She has a sister with special needs and my family’s experiences have touched her, so she felt compelled to reach out. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to gain some insight from a [...]

The Best Thing They Do for Their Sibling With Special Needs

When my younger son, Saul, was first diagnosed with fragile X syndrome at 1, it became clear that parenting him would be involved. I felt especially overwhelmed because he was one of three children. I had always planned on two children but having a toddler and then twins equals three. And now one of them [...]

Her Parents Were Told She May Never Speak. Now, Listen to Her Sing.

Listen to the video below and you’ll find it hard to believe that Annie Titus, from Buffalo, New York, only starting singing seven months ago. The 26-year-old with autism started taking classes at her local community center in December and discovered she has an immense talent for music, ABC News reported. Her music teachers couldn’t [...]

8 Apps That May Help Maintain Your Mental Health

While some studies suggest overuse of technology can be linked to depression, apps that actually help maintain mental health exist. They’re of course not meant to substitute professional care, but they can be integrated into any mental wellness plan. The Mighty did some research and also asked our readers on Facebook which apps they use to maintain their mental health. [...]