How to Include Kids with Special Needs on The Playground
I am sure we all remember, running, screaming and playing around on playgrounds as kids. Some also may recall memories like hanging upside down from bars, impersonating monkeys and taking up entertaining challenges like, who swings the highest and so on.
Well! For a matter of fact, all this was just never a mindless energy burn. Research, strongly seconds play to be “work of childhood”. Play indeed has the power to teach children how to make friends, it also plays an essential role in helping them learn maintenance of these relationships.
Have you ever thought that kids with special needs have always been away from these opportunities & missed several chances of making childhood memories? Hence, it is important to not overlook but solve questions like — Do we have play spaces to welcome kids with special needs? Can we accommodate kids with disabilities into a play space that is comfortable and safe for them?
Children are sensitive and very easily learn about feelings like acceptance & rejection. Therefore, it is imperative to understand their needs & include inclusive playgrounds and recreational facilities. It is our duty to make sure that no child is left alone or indifferent.
Below are a few points that help us learn, how to accommodate kids with special needs on playgrounds
· It all begins with Inclusive Playgrounds
Wheelchairs are not the only way to perceive disability. There are many other factors that describe disabilities, that strangers or sheer acquaintances can’t guess right at the first time. In real time, it is not that easy to understand every special need, hence the best way to go about building inclusive or playgrounds for special needs is by making use of “Principles of Universal Design”.
· Plan more spaces for kids with special needs
Choosing playground equipment for disabled children is not that simple, it needs to be a thoughtful process. There are a variety of playground equipment available in the market. But what really needs to be taken care of, is that kids with special needs not only require toys that are fun, but it also needs to be a good combination of therapeutic & educational ones.
· Protective surfaces
To accommodate kids with special abilities, it is vital to make sure that the floor is made from wood, fiber, mulch, rubber mat or any other friendly material to reduce the intensity of wounds and injuries.
· Careful Ramp Design
Ramp design is another such area of inclusive playgrounds that needs to be designed with precision to make play equipment easily accessible for kids on the wheelchair, kids with autism as well as kids with visual imparity.
· Never neglect safety
Safety should never be compromised, especially when it is related to children. To accommodate more and more children with disabilities on the playground, it is vital to have amenities that will contribute to safety as well as overall improvement of the children.
To share an overall idea as per the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, states that shorter step heights, hand rails, roomier decks are a few inclusions that can enrich & make play experience safer for children with all abilities.
We believe that every child deserves to attain the highest level of fun in life. So, let us pledge to promote playgrounds where children with all abilities can play and draw wonderful childhood memories together, without being treated indifferently.
Read more about playgrounds for children with disabilities.