WORCESTER, Mass. - A new playground geared for students on the autism spectrum opened Friday at the Center for Applied Behavioral Instruction.

The nonprofit serves nearly 100 students ages 6 to 21 with autism spectrum disorder. They said the outdoor play space will allow students to have a more typical recess experience, as well as work on fine motor and gross motor skills.

"It was absolutely a missing asset that we had," said executive director Brian Doyle. "We have a gym inside but we didn't have a play area outside. We would have to take the children off-site to playgrounds and things like that. This enables the children to actually just walk out of the building and walk into the playground just like a typical school, which is always our hope to have the most typical school experience possible for our kids."

The nonprofit special education school serves students from school districts in central Massachusetts. The playground was funded mostly through fundraisers and donations.