First Sensory Park for Children Inaugurated at Obregia Hospital

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The Bucharest City Hall, through the Administration of Hospitals and Medical Services Bucharest, and UNICEF Romania Representative inaugurated today a sensory park for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The park is located in the courtyard of the ‘Prof. Dr. Alexandru Obregia’ Clinical Psychiatry Hospital in Bucharest.

The Sensory Park at the ‘Prof. Dr. Alexandru Obregia’ Clinical Psychiatry Hospital serves a dual purpose: therapeutic for children with autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, or other neurodevelopmental disorders, and for socialization in the case of adolescent patients. Exposure to specific sensory experiences helps children with neurodevelopmental disorders develop and regulate their reactions to external stimuli.

Sensory experiences are essential for the development of children’s brains. Sensory integration issues are commonly encountered in neurodevelopmental disorders and can emerge from early childhood. Activities and preventive services are particularly important for the subsequent therapeutic progress.

The beneficiaries will not only be pediatric and adolescent patients from Bucharest but also those from other parts of the country who are treated at the ‘Prof. Dr. Alexandru Obregia’ Clinical Psychiatry Hospital.

“We aim to make Bucharest a more child-friendly city, offering them more quality services. The memorandum we signed last year with UNICEF, as part of the Child-Friendly Cities Initiative, was a first step followed by concrete actions, such as the development of this sensory park. The mental health of younger generations is a lively concern of the municipality, and through ASSMB, we provide a wide range of services, from prevention to specialized services when needed. Alongside UNICEF and other partners, we can develop programs and projects to support the most vulnerable and create the European capital we all desire,” said Nicușor Dan, the Mayor of Bucharest.

The use of the new space provides an opportunity for engaging in sensory exploration in a safe environment, allowing children and their families to learn what triggers certain reactions and what can help them calm down. The sensory park is equipped with facilities that stimulate users visually, auditorily, and tactically.

There is an urgent need for Romania to invest in providing quality mental health services for all children and adolescents. One in ten children in Romania requires such services annually, and I am pleased that we can take steps in this direction alongside our partners in Bucharest, with whom we have had increasingly substantial collaboration in recent years. Bucharest has the capacity to develop models for the rest of the country in numerous action areas to make communities more child-friendly,” said Anna Riatti, UNICEF Representative in Romania.

The park is intended for various age groups, up to 18 years old, and will also serve as a socialization space. Additionally, a basketball court is set to be installed.

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