McKellar Kids Rehab, a paediatric rehabilitation facility at the McKellar Centre in Geelong North, was opened in April 2022. The culmination of ten years planning, it provides specialist rehabilitation services for young people aged 0-25 with complex care needs from childhood-onset disability such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, acquired brain injury, and other complex neurological conditions to people living in the Geelong & Barwon South-west region.
The fundamental principle behind the project is that the rehabilitation and psycho-social needs of children, adolescents and young adults with complex care needs are different from those of adults and elderly patients.
This is a world in miniature form. The design of the Therapy Garden is a series of spaces that need to strike a balance between varying experiences and qualities: a sensory-rich environment of textures, smells, colours, sounds and hands-on engagement; to quiet spaces for one-on-one speech therapy sessions or spaces to seek solitude.
The Therapy Garden offers opportunities for children and young adults to take part in activities that facilitate a return to sports and everyday skills such as learning to climb stairs, walk across uneven surfaces like sand and walk on gently graded surfaces. Another often overlooked aspect in the role that a space such as this can play, is the fostering of families’ confidence to venture out and access different spaces, knowing that a trip to the beach or a park might be possible.