Association of Children with Downs Syndrome

Westchester, New York

February 2019

Merlin’s Magic Wand Foundation and LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester work their magic to deliver the FIRST Merlin’s Magic Space in New York!

A space within the pre-school area of the Association of Children with Downs Syndrome (ACDS) in Westchester has been completely transformed by the global children’s charity Merlin’s Magic Wand in collaboration with LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester.

The Magic Spaces team worked very closely with ADCS to design and transform the original uninspiring occupational therapy room in the pre-school into a NEW exclusively designed magic space. Every element of the transformation was created with the children’s particular needs in mind. The NEW magic space has been filled with large LEGO® DUPLO to help the children develop their fine motor skills and every detail is specially designed so they are not overwhelmed by sensory overload. The lighting has been created to look like clouds and is less intense and there are movable partitions to give children who need it more privacy to learn and play. The space is complete with wall graphics, LEGO® DUPLO build tables and iPads featuring the LEGO® mosaic interactive game.

Occupational Therapist Michelle Meyerhoeffer at the ADCS pre-school was delighted with the new space and is convinced it will make a big impact on the children attending the pre-school, saying “I think they are going to be much more motivated to come in here to play and work.”

Tiana Jones’ two year old son Cooper has Down syndrome and on seeing the latest Merlin’s Magic Space said it gives her great hope. “Every child is different and parents and staff should focus on their abilities versus their disabilities. Something like this is beyond my wildest dreams. It’s something that I couldn’t imagine for my son and I love that people are thinking outside the box.”

ACDS Executive Director Michael M. Smith remarked, “We are delighted to have an innovative, colorful, playful and magical site that brings the vision and creativity of the Merlin’s Magic Wand and LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester teams to our students.  The partnership has been a joy from start to finish and we look forward to many years of sharing Merlin’s Magic with young children with developmental disabilities from throughout Westchester.”

Chris Mines, the General Manager at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester said, “LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester is immensely proud to have worked in close partnership with ACDS and Merlin’s Magic Wand to launch and deliver this amazing Merlin’s Magic Space. This bright and colorful space is a great addition to this already magnificent facility and will enable children who can’t visit LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester the opportunity to experience some of its magic. Special thanks must go to John Rigores who managed the project, Tracie and Elly who were instrumental in its design and conception and the local vendors who kindly donated (Rose Press, JRS and ES&A).”

ACDS was founded in 1966 by parents of children with Down syndrome. For more than 50 years, ACDS has been fulfilling its mission to provide resources of exceptional quality, innovation and inclusion for individuals with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities. The pre-school supports 160 children between the ages of 3-5 years.

All of the activities at the ACDS pre-school from educational, recreational, therapeutic and social skills focus on the unique characteristics and abilities of the children they are looking after, with one goal - to help that individual develop to their full potential. They bring a wealth of experience, developed over half a century, to the job every day.

This NEW Merlin’s Magic Space will continue to enhance the children’s development and enjoyment for many years to come.


About us

The Charity makes FUN accessible to children with three Magic Spells: "Magical Days Out" providing tickets and contributing towards a travel grant for families to enjoy their day at a Merlin Entertainments’ attraction; "Merlin’s Magic On Tour" working with our local communities at hospitals and hospices to bring the magic to the children wherever they are; and "Merlin’s Magic Spaces" designing and creating amazing projects in hospitals, orphanages, learning centres and more all around the world.

Merlin’s Magic Wand is a charitable trust registered with the UK Charities Commission, registration number 1124081. Merlin’s Magic Wand Trustees Limited is a company incorporated in England and Wales with registered number 06511344.

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