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Chapel Hill, NC: New sensory play space "designed with neurodiverse kids in mind"

June 20, 2021, WRAL, Chapel Hill, N.C.: New sensory play space will cater to neurodiverse community

As the neurodiverse community grows, Tynisha Doe is working to build a home away from home for them. When it opens in July on Governors Drive in Chapel Hil, Sensored Vibes will offer a sensory play space designed with neurodiverse kids in mind. The open-play indoor gym concept is the brainchild of Doe, an occupational therapist. Doe moved to the Triangle this year with her husband and their blended family of three boys and one girl. I checked in with Doe to learn more about Sensored Vibes. Here's a Q&A. Tynisha Doe: I was just about ready to switch careers and apply for medical school because I thought I had hit my full potential as an occupational therapist. I have practiced in four different states and worked in five different therapy settings. I thought that there was no more room for growth in my profession. And that's what actually what brought us here to the Triangle. I was getting ready to apply to med schools in the area. UNC-Chapel Hill was my top choice. But as we were getting ready to enroll our daughter into school, I was quickly reminded of the need for my profession on the part of the many families who do not get the opportunities or support that my daughter has been fortunate to have with a parent who is an occupational therapist. Our daughter was born premature at 27 weeks and has since had some developmental delays that have required her to have an IEP for speech and language and occupational therapy. Over the past five years, we have constantly requested sensory support in my daughter's school environment and advocated for her to receive sensory integration therapy. But the support had been limited to the classroom and has not allowed my daughter to develop skills to help her focus on her daily routine. We started to set up our living room like a sensory gym to provide the sensory-seeking equipment we felt would help her focus…. It was that moment that made me say, I'm doing this, and I'm going to create this amazing space that is specialized for this growing community of need. TD: Sensored Vibes will offer many special attractions. We have hired a contractor who specializes in building sensory equipment. When you come through our doors, you will see a uniquely designed monkey bar system that includes zip lines, swings and rock climbing. Our clubhouse will also include a ball pit, sensory walls, trampoline, and a balancing ladder. These are for our sensory seekers. Our sensory avoiders will love our low stimulation pad that is a separate room that includes an open seclusion tree house-like space, color changing bubble lamp, swing, and rocking chair…. We are offering the clubhouse to all ages in the neurodiverse community. We know that as children age-out, services become limited. And as we learn more about the importance of sensory integration, many places do not offer daily accommodations for people who struggle with certain senses. As an occupational therapist, it is important for me to not only create this environment, but also offer therapy services without the need of a referral or insurance…. GAM: What are your hopes for the business going forward? TD: I am hoping to make this business grow into a collaborative establishment. We want to offer use of our space to other therapists, including speech, physical and applied behavioral, so that families can feel like they are getting everything they need and more in our location. My hope is to continue to make Sensored Vibes the home away from home. A place that parents can feel like they want to be at to meet new people and friends who experience similar struggles with their kids. A place where kids can develop friendships without feeling any underlying judgement. I want Sensored Vibes to be a place where families can say "I'm home."


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