We hear a lot about diversity and equal opportunity in the news, but most often it’s not in relation to children with disabilities; however, that seems to be changing. More and more people are bringing attention to the fact that children with disabilities deserve equality, too, by way of inclusive playgrounds.
There is an article from the National Center of Accessibility that brilliantly puts into words the importance of inclusive public playgrounds:
“The public playground is, by far, one of the most important settings for child development. It is one of the few environments where a child has the freedom to run and jump, climb, swing and leap, yell, reign, conjure, create, dream or meditate. In this complicated world that we live in, the playground is a safe and common place for children to come together, to discover the value of play, to learn about each other, to recognize their similarities and differences, to meet physical and social challenges, to leave comfort zones and evolve into the little young people they are meant to be. It is a microcosm for life lessons, from challenge and risk to conflict resolution and cooperation. When we design for these purposes and apply the Principles of Universal Design, we design for inclusive play where every child, regardless of ability or disability, is welcomed and benefits physically, developmentally, emotionally and socially from the environment.” Jennifer K. Skulski, CPSI, National Center on Accessibility, Indiana University - Bloomington
At Park Place Recreation we understand the importance of inclusive playgrounds and we understand the need to get them in the limelight and get more people building them. We were thrilled to see that inclusive playgrounds were brought to attention on TV by NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) which according to Wikipedia is the “seventh longest-running scripted primetime TV series in the US”.
On the show they are asking for donations to help build “Inclusion Town” a playground designed for kids with disabilities and special needs (AKA an inclusive playground). One of the main characters, Nick Torres (played by Wilmer Valderrama), means to make a $50.00 donation online and accidentally makes a $5,000.00 donation instead. He tells them it was an accident and that he wants his money back, but at the end of the episode he is watching kids of all abilities laugh and play on the specialized playground equipment and decides to let his $5,000.00 donation stand.
Now obviously we aren’t suggesting y’all go out and make a $5,000.00 donation for a new playground, but we love the point this scene gets across. The value of an inclusive playground is not always seen by people with typical children, because their children can play on any playground. But to see with your own eyes children in wheelchairs and children in crutches and children that are impaired in any way being able to play without restraint, just like their peers, that is something special. That is what every kid deserves. That is why we at Park Place Recreation are passionate about promoting inclusive play.
If you would like some tips on how to make your playground more inclusive without having to build a new one from the ground up, check out Updating Your Playground to be Inclusive, or contact us today for more information.