Color Wheel Playhouse offers inclusive place to play

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new addition to the Northwest Suburbs is giving kids a new, inclusive place to play.

"It's a place where kids can come and be themselves" - that's the motto at the Color Wheel Playhouse in Hanover Park, according to creator and founder Rochelle Adewuyi.

Rochelle and her husband Paul created the idea out of a need for their own family. Their son Max has autism, and they wanted a more accepting place for their son to play.

"Maxwell having a space for birthday parties and some of the challenges that we faced, and we kind of looked at each other and said, 'Wait a minute there isn't one. Why don't we think about it?'" Paul said.

That thought was brought to life in this space. Kids of all abilities can enjoy the sensory-friendly space that includes a zipline, ball pit, sensory tubs and swings. It's all for fun but with a purpose.

"We like to say things here are dual functionality, with an emphasis on fun," Rochelle said. "So in here it's all play but we have a function to almost everything here.

For example, the swings serve as a form of occupational therapy, helping kids work on their upper body strength and movement.

"Some place like this is really cool because it is something that we can use in a therapy session but it's some place that they can come back to on their own," said Christina Citta, an occupational therapist.

The playhouse offers another unique aspect what they call "Playologists," who are staff in house to be hands-on with the kids.

"They are here to facilitate socialization, to help them with their speech and they are not therapists, they just play," Rochelle said.

Play and have fun with no boundaries.

"The thing about it is when they come in no one is looking at it as 'there's a kid with autism' or challenges," Paul said. "Kids are going to be kids. Once they are here, put them in their element and let them have fun, and that's what we're about."
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