Your garden could be perfect therapy for family members with special needs

Lynne Adkins
May 07, 2019 - 4:00 am

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Digging in the dirt can be a great therapy for people with disabilities. 

Turning over the garden, touching the plants and breathing in the wonderful earthy scents can go a long way to help people with autism and Alzheimer's, according to Nancy Minich, a registered horticultural therapist who teaches at Delaware Valley University.

"It helps to trigger things in the brain to remember things, because the sense of smell is one of the strongest, longest lasting sensory quality. Also, they hear things or they feel things that feel very pleasant so it gives them an escape from some of the things that might be making them feel very agitated, which is part of Alzheimer's disease," Minich said. 

The repetitive tasks are perfect for this population, as the gardener isn't overwhelmed trying to remember too many things while benefiting from the physical activity.