His special garden was an adjunct to a program that was run by the Royal Blind Society in New South Wales. The Royal Blind Society was running an early intervention program for blind and visually impaired children up to six years old.
The Society had a playroom with toys and gadgets that are arranged to stimulate the senses. McBurney believed that the children might have more fun outdoors, while stimulating their senses through smells, sounds, taste, touch and sight. His garden consisted of a lawn with several small sandstone blocks arranged in a semi-circle. There was surrounding garden beds with a range of different plants, including perfumed flowers, aromatic herbs and fruit trees. The garden also included tactile objects such as bark, pine needles and leaves.
My attention was drawn to this garden with a report of two-year old named Lolita McPherson, whose mother was told a few weeks after her birth that her daughter would be almost totally blind. At two-years of age, she was touching pine needles, approaching and smelling the aroma of crushed mint leaves, and burying her nose into ice-pink roses. She could run across the grass to different bright flowers that caught her interest.
Lolita's vision had improved from legal blindness to just outside of normal range. Many other children have improved their chances of having a more normal life through their playtime in the special garden and playroom.
I recently scanned the internet and learned that several companies are planting special gardens, but to my knowledge, McBurney was the first individual who came up with this idea to help blind children
There is a vital key regarding the stimulating of our senses. We know that people who have lost the use of one of their senses often will find that their body will compensate with the heightened ability in another one of their senses. We all possess these greater abilities of our senses, but we have not had the need, or the awareness, to develop them to their fullest potential. Those abilities do exist. When you hear about someone who has developed seemingly extraordinary abilities of a particular sense, you might want to consider that this is an ability inherent in each one of us.
All of our senses can be stimulated and conditioned to bring us an even greater awareness of the world around us.
To Inspire and Empower.