AURORA, IL — As difficult as the COVID-19 pandemic has been on local residents as they deal with mask mandates, social distancing guidelines and rising caseloads, those who live with disabilities have experienced even more challenges in dealing with daily distractions while living in isolation.
Aurora-based Fox Valley Special Recreation Association has come up with a solution by creating kits that include sensory equipment that can be used by those local residents who struggle with needing more tactile items to help alleviate stress brought on by the pandemic.
The Break Bags have been introduced by the local organization as part of its sensory on-demand support product line, the group’s officials said in a news release. The kits are being offered free of charge to local families and include items such as sensory toys, stretchy string, fidget toys, communication tools and liquid bubblers.
So far, the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association has distributed seven break bags and 30 custom kits have been provided to local group homes though the Association for Individual Development, the release said.
The program is part of an initiative of the organization to bring sensory support into the community. Using a bus to transport both calm and invigorating sensory equipment, FVSRA staff will set up a tent throughout the community, at parks, and at big events, the organization said.
People with disabilities, along with their family and friends, will have a better experience at social and community gatherings where they can take a break and recharge. The FVSRA Mobile Therapeutic Recreation Bus would provide equitable access to recreation by empowering play every day.
Fundraising for sensory support, including Break Bags, launched with FVSRA's Giving Tuesday and year-end fundraising campaigns, raising nearly $10,000 toward the $50,000 goal, the release said. Donations continue to be accepted on the organization’s website, and fund sensory equipment, including mats, LED light projectors, LED bubble tubes, weighted blankets, and more - plus the bus and tent for transporting them across the Fox Valley.
“My daughter hasn't stopped playing with these items since we got it,” one parent of a 9-year-old participant said in the release. “These are great activities for her to play with during winter and during COVID. “
Anyone interested in getting one of the Break Bags can call (630) 907-1114 or by sending an email to email@example.com. No qualifications or screening is required.