One of the most fun things to do for a child is play. Children relish playgrounds as much as adults relish money. Playgrounds stand as the ultimate pleasure points for those little humans. For an adult, it might just be a regular recreational place, but for a child, it is much more. They do not have many recreational places. With this in mind, it is imperative that children should have access to playgrounds. Moreover, all children deserve to play and get a chance to have fun with their friends. Playground equipment for children with special needs serves this very purpose.
A recent study shows that 53% of disabled kids have no friends. They spend less than two hours a week outside with their peers. They feel lonely and excluded. Consequently, they tend to spend more time alone watching television and playing on computers or smartphones. Hence, it also hampers their social development. Social inclusion is therefore imperative for them. What better way to do that than to build playground equipment for them? 92% of Canadians agree that accessibility for people with disabilities is a basic human right.
Let’s look at the importance of playground equipment for children with special needs:
- Socialization: Playground equipment designed for children with special needs gives them an environment to play and engage with children without special needs. They make more friends, hence countering the aforementioned problem. It also makes them feel better about themselves. Nevertheless, they get better at their social and communication skills.
- Physical activity: All children need some physical activity in their lives. Special playground equipment facilitates movements that help in burning calories, strengthening of muscles and improve balance & coordination.
- Mental Development: When children with or without disabilities play, they learn problem-solving skills, generating ideas, creativity through pretend play, and build relationships with their peers. This improves their decision-making skills, cognitive skills, and imagination.
- Inclusiveness: It is good for society and communities when there is equality. Usually, children with special needs are placed in therapeutic day schools rather than traditional classrooms. This way, there is less interaction between these children and their peers. If more playgrounds have equipment for children with special needs, they could serve as a leveling field where special needs and other labels matter less and children can meet each other on their own term.
Here is a list of some playground equipment for children with special needs to help you choose-
- Skeleton accessible sand table: This sand table can be added to any accessible playground route. Children can play and discover the hidden dinosaur skeleton beneath the sand. It is educational and fun at the same time.
- Accessible school bus: Accessible school bus is a model school bus with two steering wheels and plenty of seating. It is great for pretend play, which is known for inducing creativity in kids.
- Accessible digger: Children always love to dig up the sand. Accessible digger is a fully functional digger with moving arms and bucket. It is designed specifically for children in wheelchairs. It brings children closer to nature.
- Accessible turning bar: Accessible turning bar is wheelchair accessible equipment that offers upper body activity. It can also be fitted into larger playground equipment for integrated play. Another variant to this is the accessible trapeze bar, which provides extra upper body strength.
- Accessible paddle power: Children of all abilities can enjoy this suspended paddle wheel. It involves paddling, which also provides vigorous upper body exercise.
- Accessible step-up: Accessible step-up is a special needs access point for children and caregivers. It can be used with other equipment. It comes in different sizes to accommodate all children.
- Accessible trapeze beam: Accessible trapeze beam consists of moving grips that challenge children of all abilities. It is available as a freestanding event or adjoining a play structure. This comes in various sizes and shapes.
- Accessible overhead ladder: Accessible overhead ladder can be used with a wheelchair when installed on an accessible surface. This overhead ladder can also be used at higher heights for the age group of 5-12. It can be connected to a playground as well.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is a legislation that lays down guidelines for playgrounds as well. To help clarify what accessibility looks like, a minister of sport and persons with disabilities has been tasked with developing and introducing an ambitious, new federal accessibility legislature. In conclusion, it is important to have playground equipment for children with special needs in every communal and commercial playground.
To know more about playground equipment for children with special needs, contact our expert staff at Henderson Recreation. We’d love to assist you with anything from details about our range of products to installation of the same.