April 24, 2024

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Theraplay 3.0: Fostering Inclusive Therapeutic Landscapes for the Special Abilities Community

In continuation of the success of the Corporate social responsibility (CSR) program of Theraplay 2.0 and Theraplay 1.0, a new chapter in the Theraplay journey began in May 2023, with Theraplay 3.0, driven by a team of Faculty of Built Environment & Surveying (FABU), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) students. The overarching mission of Theraplay 3.0 continues a commitment of volunteers, transferring knowledge and raising awareness among the public to support the special needs community. The vision of the CSR project is to propose and execute a sustainable therapeutic landscape through cognitive happiness.

The Theraplay 3.0 team comprised 21 individuals, including six (6) core project committee members and 15 dedicated volunteers from landscape architecture, architecture, and civil engineering disciplines.

The crucial team roles for this endeavor were skillfully undertaken by the following members: Wong Sih Minh, who served as the Group Leader, ensured effective coordination and leadership; Max Sze Kai Shien contributed as the Secretary, managing communications and documentation; Chan Cing Fang held the role of Treasurer, overseeing financial aspects; Kok Ming Hui and Hanis binti Mohd Nor excelled in the area of Sponsorship, securing valuable support for the project; and Warda Husna binti Mohamed Yosri showcased her talent in Graphic Design, adding a creative touch to the team’s endeavors. Together, these dedicated individuals played integral roles in the success of the project.

Theraplay 3.0 initiatives are to propose and implement a sustainable therapeutic landscape through cognitive happiness for Persatuan Kanak-Kanak Terancat Johor Bahru. This special home was established in 1990 as a charity home providing care for 180 disabled users. This home care accommodated the age range from 10 to 98 years old with special needs and multiple incurable disabilities such as autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, mental challenges and learning difficulties. Theraplay 3.0 has started CSR work with project pitching and received substantial support of RM5,000 from MyStarfish Foundation, ILAM welfare (RM500) and crowdfunding contribution from the public (RM 3,000). Theraplay 3.0 started with the site inventory and design conceptual development. Subsequently, the crowdfunding stage begins from July to August, and lastly, the in-situ construction starts from September to the end of October 2023.

After conducting several site visits, appraisals, and interviews with the manager, Mr Jeeva, it was found that the critical issue of the special home is the lack of physical therapists to assist the beneficiaries’ activities. The current staff do not fully provide nursing therapy due to inadequate play and interactive equipment. Therefore, to overcome this issue, Theraplay 3.0 team has initiated to support the daily needs, psychomotor and physical activities among the disabled communities. Hence, an effort to provide an indoor green corner encourages the underprivileged Community to go to the greeneries milieu to enhance their well-being and sensory experiences.

Theraplay 3.0 meticulously executed a therapeutic landscape CSR project indoors and outdoors within six months, and the project was completed by November 2023. The constitution of Theraplay 3.0 is to ensure Healthy Lives and promote well-being for all ages by injecting the design elements to train special needs Community’s survival skills and improve their environmental conditions, further enhancing their health(physically and mentally) and well-being. Theraplay 3.0 also achieved SDG 10, which is to reduce Inequalities by promoting social inclusiveness for all by involving other communities to care for special needs and spreading our knowledge in helping the underprivileged Community.

Despite encountering various challenges, particularly during the design exploration phases and the logistical difficulties of team members physically meeting, the team’s endurance and patience proved invaluable in strategically planning and implementing the CSR project.

The Theraplay 3.0 CSR project progressed through distinct phases, each contributing to its successful realization. The initial stages involved conceptualization and design, spanning the months of May and June 2023, where the project’s foundations were laid. Subsequently, the team embarked on a crowdfunding phase, extending from July to mid-September 2023, to garner community support and resources. With the necessary backing secured, the project transitioned into its construction phase, commencing at the end of September and continuing through October 2023. This structured approach ensured the systematic and effective execution of Theraplay 3.0, culminating in the project’s overall success.

Floor element painting to support multiple activities and balancing skill. Floor element painting to support multiplay activities and balancing skills.


The process of making a tactile mural to enhance disabled sensory experiences.


Goh explained the usage of a “ball drop wall” to increase disabled interactive and problem-solving skills.


Shadow play, the light cast effect supported the special needs for calmness and relaxation.


Demonstrates “Target play” to increase special needs users’ movement and cognitive skill (hand and eye coordination).
Edible plants created a therapeutic and outdoor experience in the corridor.
The special needs are having fun with the flooring activity.

Theraplay 3.0 wrapped up successfully on October 28, 2023. The presence of the Dean of the Faculty of Built Environment and Surveying, Professor Sr. Dr. Kherun Nita binti Ali, LAr. graced the opening ceremony. Deputy Dean of Students Academic and Affairs, Dr. Sapura Mohamad; the Project Coordinator, Dr. Lee Yoke Lai; the President of Persatuan Kanak-Kanak Terancat, Mr Murugaiyah; and the Administrative Manager, Mr. Ziku. The handover ceremony was successfully executed by showing each station.

Handover Theraplay 3.0 project and the certificate of appreciation.

This project is a significant milestone in the Landscape Architecture program for the year 2023. The team’s dedication and kindness have inspired the broader society to actively care for and support special needs communities. In short, the team members’ leadership, event management, and effective communication skills were honed during the preparation stages, involving interactions with site managers and meetings with university lecturers. As a testament to their commitment, the team plans to continue the tradition of the CSR program by organizing Theraplay 4.0 in the future.

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