Ariella, 8, relies on her sense of touch to navigate the world around her.
“She loves feeling different textures, like playing with wooden puzzles and petting our dogs’ fur,” said her mom, Angelina, who found out her daughter had a nervous system disorder shortly after she was born.
It was during this time that Ariella began to experience frequent seizures, sometimes having multiple episodes in one day.
“Her condition slowed her developments and she did not start walking until she was 3 years old,” said Angelina. “Now Ariella uses a device to communicate with people and is mostly nonverbal.”
But Ariella is still very active and one of her favorite things to do is play outside.
Ariella’s wish - to transform her existing backyard into a sensory playground - was not only create a safe space for her to play, but also provide a place for her to enjoy with her family.
“I saw changes in her emotionally, she was excited and in better spirits as the backyard progressed,” said Angelina. “We let everyone know she was getting a wish and we couldn’t wait to see the finished project.”
Ariella’s wish granters worked to create an outdoor space with artificial turf, colorful stepping stones, interactive water features and sensory furniture.
“She loves rolling around in the grass and it has become her safe and special place just for her,” she continued. “Ariella knows that this is her area where she can be alone if needed, or we can all sit together and she can play comfortably.”
In fact, several months before her wish was granted, Ariella’s seizures have decreased to once a month and they have not been as severe.
“She’s still receiving treatments but Ariella’s focus is better and she also plays a lot more and has more interest now,” said Angelina. “Her wish has definitely done positive things for her and will be with her forever.”
“Everyone cared so deeply to make sure that Ariella received her wish,” said Angelina. “This new backyard is the first place she goes whenever she is outside and it has become a sanctuary for Ariella.”