Dedicated students, teachers build sensory garden

NEW PLAYGROUND: Nathan Breen with the enthusiastic TAFE students and teachers who helped build him a sensory garden at his farm. Photo supplied.

NEW PLAYGROUND: Nathan Breen with the enthusiastic TAFE students and teachers who helped build him a sensory garden at his farm. Photo supplied.

Brayton resident Nathan Breen has a form of autism known as Fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition causing intellectual disability and sensory overload.

A group of enthusiastic Diploma and Certificate III in Horticulture students and teachers from TAFE NSW Goulburn, Moss Vale and Yass banded together to create a sensory safe place in Brayton place for 19-year-old Nathan, planning and project-managing the building of a playground and garden.

The dedication of the students inspired Nathan’s mother, Di Gooch.

She acknowledged they gave their skills freely and travelled in their own time, often for more than an hour, to do the work. 

“Nathan’s biggest hurdles are his high levels of anxiety and hypersensitivity,” Ms Gooch said.

“He has heightened senses to the point that touching something soft can feel like razor blades while other forms of touch may give the same sensation as scraping fingernails down a chalkboard.

“The TAFE NSW students have incorporated a variety of different textures in the playground to help lessen the severity of Nathan’s sensory overload.

“When we moved out to the farm five-and-a-half years ago, Nathan couldn’t pick up a chicken because of his sensitivity issues.”

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