By Anna Skinner
Adam Meents knows what it’s like to be a parent of a child with special needs. He has two children, 8-year-old twins Melanie and Carter. Carter is severely autistic, and Meents found a way to create a business to include all children in playtime.
“Most (special needs) kids have siblings to help them with the stimulation of being around typical kids for play,” Meents said. “We want to be open for all kids, and it reverses the stigma.”
Carter’s Play Place opened in Westfield in September, and the building has sensory friendly equipment so all children can play together. There’s also a toddler room and a quiet room for children that need it. Meents said one of the best aspects is the staff, which all have ties to special needs in the community.
“There’s many parents out there of special needs kids that feel like they are compelled to explain that to other parents, and you can imagine how quickly that can get old,” Meents said. “My staff in there sympathize and empathize because they’re living it. It’s great to have the right people in the business to really interact with the kids in a way they can understand. (The kids) are staying in a concentrated play area where it’s safe and secure, and parents know it’s a hard time for them to get hurt and more impossible for them to get out and get away from being safe. That’s important for the community because you have to have a safe and secure place that’s big enough. These kids can be rambunctious.”
Meents, a Carmel resident, runs the business with Joe Blamer of Ohio and Brandon Warren of Noblesville. Meents works in Fishers during the week and visits Carter’s Play Place on the weekends.
For more, visit cartersplayplace.com.