23 Jan 2022

Sensory walkway under development in Offaly town

Sensory walkway under development in Offaly town

Offaly Local Development Company workers creating the Sensory Walkway in Shinrone

A sensory walkway is under development in an Offaly town.

Shinrone Sensory Walkway Working Group, currently supported and facilitated by Offaly Local Development Company, is a newly established group in Shinrone working to develop a sensory walkway throughout the village.

The aim is to develop a multifunctional walkway for the benefit of all the community.

There will be a particular emphasis on children and families with autism and the walk will provide space for self-regulation as well as exploration and creativity.

The proposed walk will start at the Birr Road, continue through the village and connect with Cangort Wood.

Planning is underway with designs for some key areas and planting has also begun.

The group and Offaly Local Development Company staff are working closely with Shinrone Tidy Towns, The Heritage Group, and the local CE scheme to ensure the sustainability and success of the project.

Youth initiatives are ongoing through planting/horticulture projects with young people and their families as well as those about to transition from Sunflowers Preschool Shinrone to Primary School.

The organisers says there's lots more to look forward to in the coming weeks and months.

If you are interested in getting involved or finding out more then contact Rachel Moloney at Offaly Local Development Company on 086 8336873, or

Outdoor sensory paths can be beneficial for many reasons.

Most commonly, those creating sensory garden paths do so for young children or those with specific disabilities, much like typical sensory gardens.

Though these paths can be helpful for those with sensory processing disorders or vision impairment, this does not mean that they cannot be enjoyed by all.

Since these sturdy paths are designed to be heavily used, they’re a very practical way to add extra interest to one's environment.

Designs and sensory walkway ideas vary greatly from one growing space to another, but all abide by the same general principle. Each sensory garden walkway should incorporate various materials to provide a different feel and/or experience as you pass by it.

Sensory paths are proven to be beneficial for children with autism. When a child with a sensory processing disorder, such as autism, is in a general education classroom, their brain is trying to process several different things at once. From sitting up in the chair, the climate in the room, the other children next to them, the smells, the teacher talking, another child talking, the movements in the room - everything that we can usually tune out, they cannot help but fixate on.

Children with sensory processing disorders can't just simply turn off the radio of their brains. They need a brain break. Sensory pathways can unjam and clear their neurological pathways, releasing their internalised tension and allowing their body and brain to refocus.

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