This past semester, interior design students continued working on an ongoing Immersive Learning project with the Children’s TherAplay Foundation to help redesign their hippotherapy center.

Based in Carmel, Indiana, Children’s TherAplay is a nonprofit that provides physical and occupational therapy using horseback riding. They help children with different diagnoses, such as cerebral palsy, down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, traumatic brain injury, and developmental delay.

Children’s TherAplay was founded in 2001 by alumnus Craig Dobbs, ’86, of Graystone Consulting. The organization has partnered with Ball State through the Immersive Learning project for the last four years.  

The Ball State students involved in this project are helping redesign the TherAplay facility and creating engaging toys and sensory furniture. Students get to visit the nonprofit to make observations and adjust their designs accordingly.

“I think they’ve really enjoyed coming in and doing the observations,” said Teresa Keathley, physical therapist and clinic lead for Children’s TherAplay. “It’s been really good to see their creativity. Their designs change as they get to know our kids and what our needs are. It’s been really good to have that collaborative relationship.”

Interior design major Megan Marihugh said the project has resulted in nearly invaluable work experience.

“There’s construction going on right now and we are here on site being able to see this new project coming alive,” she said. “We’re able to engage directly with therapists through this program, and we’re able to understand how we will be working alongside other working professionals, seeing how our major and our program is really ingrained in everything.”

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