The feeling of grass between her toes and the wind in her hair is no longer out of reach for 9 year-old Lauren thanks to a sensory garden courtesy of The Landscape Guys and Telethon.
Lauren has autism and a severe case of epilepsy that requires 24 hour supervision due to the severity and spontaneity of seizures. Given her complex health needs, Lauren is home-schooled and spends the majority of her time with her immediate family and carer.
Prior to recent garden renovations, Lauren was confined to the family living room, as the backyard’s uneven pavers made it inaccessible for her wheelchair and walking frame. Seeing how much Lauren enjoyed looking out into the backyard from where she sat inside, Occupational Therapist, Caoibhe Flynn, helped the family to apply for funding to renovate their garden to suit Lauren’s needs.
“Lauren spent her days looking out at the world, but was unable to experience a lot of it due to her health issues,” Caoibhe said.
“Not only does a sensory garden provide a safe space for Lauren to spend quality time with her family, it also helps her regulate her sensory reactions and gain an understanding of the world outdoors.”
With funding from Telethon, Therapy Focus was able to enlist the services of The Landscape Guys to create a sensory garden for Lauren. The team went above and beyond for the family, re-paving the patio, removing a large tree, planting a variety of plants and herbs, hanging wind chimes and brightening the garden with coloured pots and bamboo. As Lauren’s seizures are so spontaneous, they also installed a soft landing surface to keep her safe when she falls.
Lauren’s mother Jenny said the sensory garden has greatly improved Lauren’s quality of life, providing a “Lauren-friendly” space where she can engage, not just watch from inside.
“Before the wonderful team at The Landscape Guys transformed our garden, it was too dangerous for Lauren to be out there” Jenny said.
“Now she enjoys running her hands over all the different kinds of plants in the garden and pick herbs from the hanging garden to give to family and friends. When she’s in her walker she can even help water the flowerbeds!”
The Telethon Weekend is being held on the 17th & 18th of October at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre. For more information visit www.telethon.7perth.com.au.