KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)–A Kingsport physical therapist inspired her team at Ballad Health to build a sensory playground for children seeking therapy at Indian Path Community Hospital.

Pediatric Occupational Therapist Miller Reagan says her inspiration was sparked when a supervisor asked what type of equipment she’d want in the new pediatric therapy space.

“The fact that we were able to move in with a clean slate, had opportunity written all over it,” Reagan told News Channel 11.

She enlisted a New Jersey-based company that specializes in sensory playground equipment to create a mock-up to send to her supervisor.

“Ron pushed it up to leadership,” said Reagan, adding that Hospital Administrator Dwight Owens, “was on board from the get-go.”

The gym is equipped with swings, slides, ziplines and climbing walls, all meant to mimic real-life situations for patients.

Reagan says the choice of playground-type equipment is intentional.

“Kids learn through play, that’s their main occupation,” said Reagan. “You have to tap into that play to reach the goal, the milestones for development.”

The gym opened to patients in April and already sees seven to eight patients per day. Reagan says the new equipment is already making a big difference for her patients.

“Being able to treat with other therapists in their room is really important for kids’ development, social skills,” said Reagan. “We also can be more creative as therapists providing intervention. You can work on social skills. Other kids see those kids participating in something and that motivates them to participate.”

Ballad leaders cut the ribbon on the pediatric therapy gym Tuesday.

Ballad opened a pediatric emergency department at the hospital in September 2022.