New climbing wall helps kids safely ‘monkey around’

By Nick Blank
Posted 10/3/18

FLEMING ISLAND – With assistance from physical and occupational therapists, children persistently weaved in out and around Wolfson Children’s Rehab-Clay’s new climbing apparatus on …

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New climbing wall helps kids safely ‘monkey around’

Posted

FLEMING ISLAND – With assistance from physical and occupational therapists, children persistently weaved in out and around Wolfson Children’s Rehab-Clay’s new climbing apparatus on Tuesday.

The $4,000 contraption, complete with ball pit, rock climbing wall and monkey bars for children with brain injuries or neurological disorders, was donated by Epic Theatres at Oakleaf and the Variety Club of Florida.

Terri Tomlinson, a clinical manager and speech pathologist at Wolfson, said she was thankful for the donation and the addition of the therapy tool will help kids with several activities.

“There’s a whole variety of things to do on there,” Tomlinson said.

Variety Club Director of Fundraising Richard Goldstein said the organization asked Wolfson what equipment they wanted after a large fundraising drive at the movie theater.

“We gave an adaptive bike to Wolfson in Jacksonville, and Wolfson Clay asked for a climbing wall,” Goldstein said. “I’ve never seen anything like this. It took a while with all the parts to get set up, but this is marvelous.”

The climbing system helps patients improve motor skills, endurance, mobility, coordination and strength, said physical therapist Peggy Glatz.

“It’s great for strengthening arms, legs, core, coordination, motor planning and trying to figure out how they’re going to get up to the top and how they’re going to get down safely,” Glatz said. “It’s been a blessing and it’s been wonderful.”

Some children traverse across monkey bars before diving into a ball pit, others scale the rock wall. Therapists place a ball at the top of a wall for Sheryl Lowentzen’s 5-year-old son, Easton, who has down syndrome. He tackles the wall with aplomb, raising his fist when he retrieves the ball.

“All that climbing can really strengthen them and make those skills better,” Lowentzen said. “They love it.”

Julie Saldivar’s son Dylan, 5, who has autism, she said the donation was a fantastic addition to Wolfson Clay.

“I think it’s awesome this apparatus for the kids to be able to practice and learn these skills they down have it’s real amazing,” Saldivar said.

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