Children with disabilities enjoy judgement free playground

HAVELOCK (WNCT) – Children with, and without, disabilities are enjoying a new playground in Havelock offering a judgement free place to have fun.

Lick This opened on May 2nd, and has been growing in popularity since. It’s main goal was to provide a place to play for children with disabilities.

“A lot of times we go places, people stare at us because they don’t understand,” said Nicole Gatto, who’s son has autism. “They just think he’s bad or naughty.”

Gatto said Lick This has given her son a place to be himself without drawing unwanted attention.

“No one judges us, no one looks at him funny,” she said. “He can go sit in the corner and play by himself if he wants to, or he can play with the other kids.”

Since opening, Lick This has averaged about six families each day. Owner Jodi Thomas named it after her autistic son Connor, who always used to lick things growing up.

“Instead of being upset about what he does, we just make a joke out of it,” Thomas said.

Since opening, Thomas said the feedback has all been positive. She said Lick This also enables parents with children with disabilities to bounce ideas off each other.

“It’s nice to sit here and socialize and swap stories and know that mom has been there, done that, and she’s not thinking this is the craziest thing she’s ever heard,” Thomas said.

For more information on Lick This, click here.

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