The Importance of Accessible Playgrounds for Children With Disabilities
When I was growing up, playgrounds were not accessible. Imagine hearing the bell ring and everyone runs out of the door because it’s time to play, run and make friends, but when you go towards the door, the teacher says “Oh, you can’t, you have to stay in with me.” She hands you a coloring book or a book to read as you watch the other kids were run freely on the playground or sliding down the slides.
Even though I loved my teacher and she was a sweetheart, I wanted to be included and feel like every other kid, carefree and making friends along the way. However, my only friends during those hours were my books and my teacher. I thought maybe they didn’t want me to get hurt. However, now I am older, I realized it is not that, it is because playgrounds that are built for fun are often built to exclude us. There are stairs to go to the playground itself, there are stairs to go the slides and monkey bars we can’t reach or swings that not are not friendly to wheelchair users.
How about making a playground to include all? Build ramps so children can go to the slides, build monkey bars with safety harnesses like a zip line, build bigger swings that fit a wheelchair so everyone can feel free and be social. Everyone can have fun at the same time, be included, and above all have fun.
Getty image by Soner Cdem.