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BellaOnline's Children with Special Needs Editor

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Accessible Playgrounds & Inclusive Play Areas


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
http://www.npr.org/2013/08/27/213827534/for-kids-with-special-needs-more-places-to-play

Playgrounds for Everyone
http://www.playgroundsforeveryone.com/
Here's How to Find One
http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2014/09/11/345514628/playgrounds-for-all-children-heres-how-to-find-one

Playground surface accessibility study shows problems after just 12 months
http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/19127.html

Nobody Seems to Get it: Accommodation is NOT the Same as Inclusion http://www.themobilityresource.com/barrier-free-playground-creates-new-barriers/

Will mobility aids like the TEK Robotic Mobilization Device make wheelchairs obsolete?
http://tekrmd.com/
Video
http://www.wimp.com/newdevice

Interview with Mara Kaplan on Inclusive Playgrounds http://www.theinclusiveclass.com/2013/06/inclusive-playgrounds-062813.html

Accessible Designs in Playgrounds and Play Areas
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art51609.asp

Inclusive P.E. for Children with Special Needs
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art46155.asp

Recess Skills for Children with Special Needs
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art432.asp

Home Accessibility and Visitability for
Families of Children with Special Needs

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art37751.asp

Universal Design for Learning - Access to General Education Curriculum
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art50363.asp

Inclusion of Children with Disabilities Benefits Classmates
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art6157.asp

Exploring and Designing Technology Solutions for Today's Educational Needs and
Children with Learning Differences
http://www.ashleysmom.com/index.html

National PTA - Rescuing Recess
Recess kits, grants and support for funding playground equipment, volunteer programs and research studies
http://www.pta.org

Groundbreaking set for 100% accessible playground
http://www.kptv.com/story/18681008/groundbreaking-set-for-100-accessible-playground

Playgrounds: Innovative Technologies For, By, W/ Disabled Persons
http://www.dinf.ne.jp/doc/english/global/david/dwe001/dwe00101.html
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.
http://meloukhia.net/2012/08/dont_stare_at_me_is_an_access_need_too.html
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Inclusive P.E. and Childhood Disabilities
Recess Skills and Childhood Disabilities
Universal Design for Learning
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Content copyright © 2014 by Pamela Wilson. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Pamela Wilson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Pamela Wilson for details.

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