Everyone should be included no matter the age!

When you think of the word Inclusion what does it mean to you?

Inclusion is defined as the state of being included or being made a part of something. When a book covers many different ideas and subjects, it is an example of the inclusion of many ideas. When multiple people are all invited to be part of a group, this is an example of the inclusion of many different people.

When you’re a kid that immediate feeling of excitement as soon as you see a playground you just want to run over and play on everything, giggling and shouting while on the swing to go higher!

Playgrounds are so much more than swings and roundabouts. They are chances to make memories that will last forever.

However, Disabled children don’t have the same experience of feeling that excitement when seeing a playground as they are quickly reminded it’s not accessible. Finding themselves excluded sitting on the sidelines, watching their friends or siblings enjoy the freedom of what a playground can offer because of poor design and a lack of consideration of their needs.

Is it right or fair that kids with disabilities can’t access their local parks!? No, absolutely not. If disabled children are able to use their local playground, it’ll make a huge difference. Not only will help with Child development but It also means that they can enjoy themselves with Friends and family, everybody should be able to do that.

Research by Scope suggests almost half of families (49%) feel their local playground is not accessible.

The Opinium polling company questioned 1,000 parents of disabled children aged under 12 in England and Wales.

Of these: 

  • One in seven said they could not enjoy the playground as a family because siblings could not play together
  • And one in 10 said their disabled child had hurt themselves on equipment not designed for them

It’s crucial for playgrounds to be designed with all children in mind, argues Scope. 

The charity Scope wants national governments to ring-fence money to improve and refurbish playgrounds, and argues £37m should be allocated in England and £7m in Wales.

Last year, the government’s National Disability Strategy highlighted the need to make playgrounds more inclusive as a key way of improving disabled people’s lives from their earliest years.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any real action points. so yet again it just becomes another document that means nothing. Local authorities need better guidance on what “accessible actually is”. One thing I have always said and will continue to say is ‘don’t have conversations about us without us’.

Every child has an equal right to play, yet many disabled children can’t enjoy their local playground, Inaccessible equipment “leaves disabled children shut out and missing childhood experiences”.

key features to consider include: 

  • wide walkways and ramps
  • ground-level roundabouts with fixings for wheelchairs
  • bucket-style swings for children who can’t support themselves
  • avoiding surfaces wheelchairs can sink into, like woodchips or sand
  • play equipment that makes calming sounds for children with autism
  • brightly-coloured equipment and tactile floor surfaces for children with visual impairments
  • better fencing

As a child I have those fond memories of being able to enjoy a playground with my siblings and friends, but it would’ve been a very different story if I was disabled from a child – this is why I urge you to join the campaign and let your local authorities know you want every playground to be accessible to all.

Until next time.

Kisses K

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