Every community and school should have accessible playgrounds and naturally inclusive play areas. Your neighborhood, parks department or school district may already be planning, building and updating playgrounds so they can be enjoyed by children with physical disabilities, developmental delays or other special needs, alongside their mainstream peers.
What can you do to provide these options for children in your community? Existing school and neighborhood playgrounds can often be adapted so they are safe and accessible for all children, with only a bit more effort and cost than would be spent for regular annual maintenance or improvements.
Playgrounds should also be accessible to parents, teachers, and other adults who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids. It is critical that all parents with disabilities have access to their children's playgrounds, and design features that accommodate individual differences for the maximum amount of fun and playtime interactions. Veterans returning with combat injuries deserve consideration in all public spaces.
Where children of varying ability, age and size have been considered in playground design, most issues related to crawling and climbing by children using wheelchairs for access to the equipment have already been addressed.
Many of the reasonable and quite simple accommodations that have been developed for children with disabilities already benefit and are enjoyed by their mainstream peers. Every child deserves public play areas that are both challenging and fun - and when well planned, the natural integration that results can help us build inclusive communities from the first years of our children's lives.
Browse at your public library, local bookstore or online retailer for books like Backyards and butterflies: Ways to include children with disabilities in outdoor activities or The Great Big Book of Children's Games: Over 450 Indoor & Outdoor Games for Kids (Ages 3-12).
For Kids With Special Needs, More Places To Play
Playground surface accessibility study shows problems after just 12 months
Will mobility aids like the TEK Robotic Mobilization Device make wheelchairs obsolete?
Interview with Mara Kaplan on Inclusive Playgrounds http://www.theinclusiveclass.com/2013/06/inclusive-playgrounds-062813.html
Accessible Designs in Playgrounds and Play Areas
Inclusive P.E. for Children with Special Needs
Recess Skills for Children with Special Needs
Home Accessibility and Visitability for
Families of Children with Special Needs
Universal Design for Learning - Access to General Education Curriculum
Inclusion of Children with Disabilities Benefits Classmates
Exploring and Designing Technology Solutions for Today's Educational Needs and
Children with Learning Differences
National PTA - Rescuing Recess
Recess kits, grants and support for funding playground equipment, volunteer programs and research studies
Groundbreaking set for 100% accessible playground
Playgrounds: Innovative Technologies For, By, W/ Disabled Persons
Nothing About Us Without Us- David Werner PROJIMO team
Emotional access and making spaces psychologically as well as physically welcoming
'Don't Stare at Me' is an access need, too
Her dog is not the most interesting thing about her, by far.