Puzzle Pieces Activities from Nancy Nelson, Discovery Center Educator
Puzzle Pieces Activities from Jennifer Martello, Music Therapist
Our Favorite Community Resources
Puzzle Pieces FAQs
What is Puzzle Pieces?
On the second Sunday of each month from 10 to noon, the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center offers free admission to families with children who have autism spectrum disorders. Children play in a safe and understanding environment where the lights and sounds are kept low, a therapy dog and music therapist provide soothing interactions and fun activities are designed just for them.
The Puzzle Pieces program provides opportunities to enjoy family time at the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center in a safe and understanding environment, allows parents to network with one another, and helps families discover new resources available to them. KCDC is not open to the public during this time.
Why Do Kids Need Puzzle Pieces?
Every child deserves rich and diverse museum experiences. Children who have autism spectrum disorders need and enjoy play, but may find some kinds of play difficult. For these children, play is vitally important to learn social skills like communication, observation and imitation (Mastrangelo, 2009). Puzzle Pieces also gives children a chance to practice using their muscles to perform tasks, all while having fun in a supportive environment.
How can my family participate?
Advance registration or sign up is not required. Simply come to the Kansas Children's Discovery Center for an event. Puzzle Pieces events are subject to change, please check this website for the most current information. To stay up with our latest updates, sign up for our email list below.
Who is Van Dyke?
Van Dyke, the facility dog is a beloved Puzzle Pieces volunteer. He is a certified facility dog, trained through Canine Companions for Independence. He loves children and especially loves to be petted! Van Dyke lives with his grownup and other pets. Van Dyke and his trainer, Deana Jones, regularly attend Puzzle Pieces.
How is Puzzle Pieces funded?
Puzzle Pieces is provided by generous individuals and businesses. We thank Target and Pediatric Associates for their generous support that allows this program to take place at no cost families. To allow more families to access Puzzle Pieces, donate now.
Who serves on the Advisory Committee for Puzzle Pieces?
- Susan Voorhees, PsyD, Private Practice
- Martha Palmer, TARC Inc, Children’s Services Teacher
- Ashley Bennett, BCBA, Autism Services Manager, Family Service & Guidance Center
- Linda Burgen, MS, BCBA, Capper Foundation, Autism Service Director
- Kristen Dayo, Mathematics Instructional Coach - Whitson Elementary School. Parent of two children, one on the Autism Spectrum
- Ashley Eckelberry, Teacher IRC/Special Education, Manhattan-Ogden Public Schools
- Joel Rooks, Autism Coordinator, Topeka Public Schools
Learn more about Access Discovery
Honors medically fragile children or those battling life-limiting illnesses who need private play time.
Increases access to underserved and low-income families so finances are never a barrier to play.