Hand-over ceremony of the first therapeutic water playground for children with disabilities in Viet Nam

In February 2024, the Tân Bình District Support Centre for Inclusive Education collaborated with Think Playgrounds Social enterprise to build the first therapeutic water playground for 140 children with intellectual disabilities, designed with water play activities based on the water therapy method.
Trao tặng sân chơi thủy trị liệu đầu tiên cho trẻ khuyết  tật trí tuệ tại Việt Nam
The first therapeutic water playground for 140 children with intellectual disabilities. (Photo: NH)

This playground was funded by the New Zealand Embassy and received 14.723 contributions via the MoMo E Wallet crowdfunding platform. The outdoor playground covers an area of 72.5m2 and features 8 water jets, 3 sets of showers with 4 shower heads each to spray a fine mist from above, and a wading pool with a water depth of 20cm suitable for the age of students at the centre. It serves not only as a place for fun and entertainment but also where teachers can conduct physical therapy activities for students.

Ms. Ha Thi Thanh Van, Director of the Tan Binh District Support Centre for Inclusive Education, said: “The therapeutic water playground is a meaningful gift from the New Zealand Embassy to our students with disabilities.

With the new facilities, they will not only have fun playing with water in a familiar space (where they already study), but also improve their physical and mental health through therapy. It provides a comfortable and pressure-less environment to reduce stress and hyperactivity.

The playground is designed for children with different capacities to play together, and will help them develop social communication skills and self-care skills, supporting gradual independence and integration into society”.

Mr. Nguyen Tieu Quoc Dat, Creative Director of Think playgrounds, said: "This is the first therapeutic water playground that Think Playgrounds has implemented. Through great collaboration with Ms Van and the Tân Bình District Support Centre, we have been able to combine our solid experience of designing playgrounds for children with intellectual disabilities with the energy and ideas of the Centre to create something that will benefit so many children and their families.

“The playground has been consciously designed using soil, sand, water, wood and other natural materials in colours such as blue and green – known to stimulate flexibility and surprise. This encourages children to constantly explore and learn.”

Mr. Scott James, New Zealand Consul General expressed his happiness, saying: "I am delighted to see the enjoyment of the children using the therapeutic water playground. New Zealand is very proud to join hands with partners in Viet Nam on this meaningful and practical project. We hope that the experiences drawn from this project, such as the participation of children with disabilities and experts in the design process, can be replicated to bring more play-learning space models, ensuring greater accessibility and inclusion for children with disabilities.”

Under this project, a training workshop was also held to strengthen teaching capacity for children with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders on behavioural adjustment and development through hydrotherapy for 56 teachers and management staff at the Tân Bình District Support Centre for Inclusive Education Development as well as at other specialised educational centres and facilities in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Dak Nong, Dak Lak and Tien Giang.

The first therapeutic water playground designed specifically for children with intellectual disabilities in Viet Nam at the Tân Bình District Support Centre for Inclusive Education. The project is expected to positively impact the physical and mental development of children with intellectual disabilities, as well as raising awareness about the value of water-based therapeutic design.

Water therapy through play is known as an effective method that provides numerous benefits for children's physical and mental health, especially for those with disabilities. However, there are currently very few outdoor water playgrounds in Viet Nam suitable for children with intellectual disabilities.

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