PITTSBURG, Kans. — After two years of not being able to hold the annual event, PSU was successful in hosting their “T-R-iffic Day of Play,” at the Plaster Center on Wednesday.
The “T-R-iffic Day of Play” event was established 5 years ago, by PSU students majoring in recreational therapy. On Wednesday, students guided those participating through many different activities, all designed to provide therapeutic qualities.
“I know a lot of people that struggle with different disabilities and things. They don’t always have events that are just put on, specifically, just for them. So, this is a day that they can have to have fun and be around people that are just like them and they kind of feel a sense of, you know, just like, they can just have fun and just not worry about anything. So I think that that’s the really important thing for this day,” said Libby Vanrheen, Graduate Student. “Also like the other therapeutic aspects that all of the games provide, but just being able to just have fun and not have to worry about anything and just have a day specifically made for them.”
“The different events we have here today include face-painting, bocce ball, volleyball, different types of board games such as bingo, a fishing game. We have bowling, we have a photo booth with fun little props. We also have sensory stations, craft stations, so a little bit of everything,” added Laura Covert Miller, PSU Associate Professor.
More than 100 K-12 students and adults came from all over Southeast Kansas to participate.
Teachers who have brought students in the past say events like this one pose many benefits for their students.
“Well, it helps them get stimulated. It helps them also socialize, because a lot of times the students are isolated, and they get out here and they get to meet people and talk. And they get to have a lot of fun, I’m enjoying watching them,” said Walter Simpson, Para-educator, Pittsburg High School.
Event organizers also partnered with Special Olympics Kansas to offer free dental screenings for those participating, through the Special Smiles Program.
“The Special Smiles program is part of the Healthy Athletes program for Special Olympics Kansas, and athletes can come in and get a dental exam for free. And they can be checked by professionals that have been specifically trained on individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, for specific dental needs that they may have. And then once they get checked, they can be referred to a dental provider here in the area as well,” said Erin Fletcher, Director of Grants and Developments for SEK Special Olympics