A Fall River mother is putting her money where her heart is and opening the first play area in Fall River that is catered towards children with developmental disabilities.

Melissa Carreiro just got the go-ahead from the city to begin developing “Little Wanderers Sensory Play”, a safe space for all children that aims to provide a safe and inclusive environment for everyone.

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Melissa Carreiro’s Story

Melissa Carreiro became an emergency foster parent at the start of Covid. She was alerted of a child born in unfortunate circumstances and immediately picked him up and began fostering him. Carreiro and her husband discovered that he was on the autism spectrum and had a learning sensitivity, which presented unique challenges for a parent.

“Taking him anywhere was brutal,” she said. “We can’t go to places like Chuck E. Cheese or trampoline parks, it’s too loud and there’s just too much going on.”

The Carreiros then added a baby girl to their foster family and officially adopted the boy and girl this past November.

With two daughters of her own, Carreiro never expected to have more children, but she listened to her heart, expanded her family, and found herself dealing with a territory she had never dealt with before; a child on the spectrum.

“I found myself hiding,” she said. “I felt secluded. There was nowhere to take a child with autism where you, as a parent, could feel comfortable and they could feel comfortable.”

Carreiro began researching and discovered that there were many other parents in the same boat, so she decided to do something about it and create her own safe space.

“We were saving money to buy a house, but the market is terrible, so we put that off and put our savings into this,” she said.

Little Wanderers Sensory Play Coming to Fall River

Coming soon to Fall River, Little Wanderers Sensory Play will be a safe and inclusive environment that will cater to children with developmental disabilities.

“It will be an indoor play area for all kids, but it will be geared toward kids with sensitivity issues,” said Carreiro. Carreiro plans on using muted colors and lower-toned music to create a calm atmosphere.

“We will have character visits once a month, with the first hour reserved for kids with severe sensitivity,” she shared. “There will be a parent’s lounge where they will be able to see their child at all times, weekly crafts, discounts for foster families, membership options, and day pass options.”

Carreiro’s biggest goal is to make every child feel included and make every child feel like they have a place they can go to have fun and never feel left out again.

“My son has never been able to meet Santa or the Easter Bunny, and now he will be able to,” said Carreiro.

Carreiro believes that every child deserves to feel included, and this week, her dream of a sensory-friendly play space got one step closer.

“We just got approved this week, the mayor is all about it,” she said. “Once the paperwork is finalized, I’ll be sharing the exact location and grand opening details.”

Stay tuned for a life-changing business coming to the city.

No child will ever feel lonely again thanks to the efforts of Melissa Carreiro.

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