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Urbana, IL: Sensory gym opens; staff receives autism training

This is the kind of gym her 14-year-old son, Paulie, could have used when he was younger, Julie Palermo said. But she’s still happy other kids with special needs will benefit from the new sensory gym named for her son with autism — the Paulie Palermo Sensory Gym — that opened last month at Carle’s North Annex in Urbana. The new gym space is serving kids with autism and sensory-processing issues during their therapy sessions…. “The sensory gym is a space that we utilize with our kiddos who have a variety of diagnoses. Some have a diagnosis of autism or difficulties with sensory processing, some have a diagnosis of gross motor or fine motor delays,” said Lauren Rubarts, a pediatric therapist at Carle. “The equipment within the gym provides our kiddos with input from most of the eight senses.”… As of May 26, 7,200 Carle staff members had undergone education on behaviors related to autism and sensory processing issues so employees will recognize them when patient families walk in, Brandt said…. In all, $829,000 was raised for Carle’s sensory-friendly initiative through an employee giving campaign and fundraising event, according to Brandt.


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