New Grant Helps Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare to Complete Interactive Musical Playground for Children with Disabilities

San Manuel Band of Mission Indians donates $450,000 toward state-of-the-art therapeutic tool 

POMONA, Calif., (January 19, 2023) – The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has awarded Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare a grant in the amount of $450,000 toward a new Interactive Musical Playground, providing therapeutic and rehabilitative services to children and their families who have or are at risk for acquired or developmental delays in health, communication, cognitive development, and social-emotional development. 

Construction is currently underway on the new playground—an innovative play structure where objects become musical instruments, such as magical pebbles, a musical water harp, a musical staircase, and more. Through these unique, custom-designed features, all connected to function together via interactive software, the playground can be used to work with children on speech, motor, and social skills, empowering Casa Colina clinicians with a powerful and effective new therapeutic tool.

“The overarching goal of the Musical Playground is to enhance our ability to provide pediatric therapies while increasing access to music for children with disabilities—a historically marginalized population,” says Michele Alaniz, ORT/L, director of Casa Colina’s Children’s Services Center. “By adding this first-of-its-kind clinical tool, we not only improve our ability to keep young clients engaged and having fun during therapies, but we now have a customizable clinical tool that can be adjusted to meet each child’s unique needs and preferences.”

The playground features museum-quality sculptures and tactile pieces, all embedded with a network of sensors that provide exciting audio-visual interactions to users. The hardware and software are designed with input from Casa Colina’s team of licensed physical, occupational, and speech therapists, maximizing the playground’s ability to spark motivation and engagement among its pediatric clientele, which includes children with autism and other neuro-developmental disabilities.

The generous grant provided by San Manuel Band of Mission Indians funds the software that connects the playground’s interactive components and allows endless levels of customization, which will be critical to providing effective therapies. The funding also supports clinician training on the new software, as well as playground components such as magical pebbles, shade canopies, and more. Project completion and official naming are expected in late 2023.

Since 2002, Casa Colina and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians have enjoyed a fruitful partnership benefitting children and adults with disabilities in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has supported numerous programs, capital projects, and more at Casa Colina, including its Land Meets Sea Sports Camp, Outdoor Adventures program, and its state-of-the-art Medical-Surgical Wing and Intensive Care Unit built in 2015.

About Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare

Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare is a nonprofit provider of specialized medical and rehabilitative care for people of all ages with disabling conditions resulting from accidents, disease, or illness. Its continuum of care includes medical-surgical and intensive care, acute rehabilitation, residential rehabilitation, and long-term residential care. Outpatient services include orthopedic and neurologic rehabilitation, physician clinics with over 30 medical specialists, children’s services, diagnostic imaging, laboratory, audiology, and day treatment. Casa Colina is also home to a research institute, adaptive recreation program, and several residency programs. Located in Pomona, with satellite outpatient services in nearby Azusa, Casa Colina has proudly served the Southern California community and beyond for 85 years. Visit to learn more.

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