Playtime for all: Is your playground accessible?
April 28, 2016
Remember running around the playground when you were a kid? Taking turns on the slide or seeing who could swing the highest? It wasn't just a mindless antics of high energy children. Play teaches children how to make friends, follow rules and develop relationships. For children whose disabilities keep them from using playgrounds, those opportunities can be lost.
Federal requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act have changed the landscape for public playgrounds, requiring them to include equipment, materials and designs that provide children with disabilities the same play opportunities as typical children. While many municipalities avoid playground creation because of the high cost of creating an "inclusive" playground other community agencies and partners have banded together to create spaces for children of all abilities to enjoy. For example, ARISE, an independent living center in Syracuse NY, built a fully accessible playground on their 77 acre recreation and education center in Chittenango NY through the partnering of private business, foundations, and the community. Visit the ARISE project here.
It is the voice of parents and the goodwill of these various partners that have made access to playgrounds achievable for children with disabilities. In an age where screen time often outweighs playtime, families need play facilities that are truly inclusive environments where friendships can be fostered and minds can be free.
Questions about accessibility features for playgrounds? Visit here.
Or you can call the Northeast ADA Center at 1-800-949-4232
or visit northeastada.org