By Jill Nagy
Sensations Play Gym in Fort Edward offers children a safe place to play and exercise all of their senses, according to the owner and operator Gayle Pliscofsky.
The facility opened shortly before Christmas in a former billiard hall at 49 Broadway.
Pliscofsky is an occupational therapist with 30 years of experience, much of it working with children. She now works in early intervention and preschool services for children with special needs.
While the environment at her new center is “very therapeutic,” she said it is “appropriate for children of all abilities.”
The play gym includes an indoor playground where children can run, jump, climb, slide, and engage another active play. In other areas, they can pop on earphones, draw at a blackboard, or simply snuggle down in a soft quiet spot and regroup.
Children need a lot of movement to balance the senses, she said. Throughout her career, she has seen more and more children “who have difficulty handling their senses, causing behavior problems, meltdowns, and sometimes withdrawing from everything.”
It is sometimes difficult to separate play from therapy, she said, because so much therapeutic work with small children consists of guided play.
Turning a one-time billiard hall into a play space for young children required “a lot of painting,” Pliscofsky said. They are still working on the floor and installing a second bathroom.
Equipment came “from all over,” she said, some front therapy supply places, as well as regular stores, and some was homemade.
Sensations is not a place to drop off the children and go shopping, she said. A parent or other caregiver has to stay with each child and “get right in the mix.”
The director tries to keep her fees affordable.
“For $12, you can come and play as long as you want,” she said. The fee is $10 for the second child from the same family. There are also monthly rates and the facility is available for parties.”
That is all spelled out on the sensationsplaygym.com website, along with a note that hours vary. Pliscofsky can also be reached at 518 741-0060.
As an occupational therapist, Pliscofsky travels around to clients’ homes and also works with school districts. Previously, she worked out of a home office.
Do children like coming to the new play gym? “My gosh, yes,” Pliscofsky said. “Sometimes they don’t want to leave.”
By Jill Nagy