Inclusive Play in Parkland County

The Cause

There is a need for inclusive playground equipment in the community of Parkland County. We would like to have 4 accessible swings installed at 4 community parks. There is currently none in rural Parkland County.

Equal access in all areas of community life is a human right. Part of accessing community life as a child is playing in the community with other children. Socialization is important to not only children, but also parents and caregivers.

Disabled children have the right to equal access to community playgrounds however non-ambulatory or partial ambulatory children are not able to safely navigate \"regular\" playground equipment or use the \"regular swings\".

There is a need for safe and appropriate equipment that can be used by both able and disabled children for the following reasons:

- It is widely known that physical activity of any kind both raises quality and prolongs life.

- Disabled children will get out more, making a more inclusive community for children and parents.

-Interaction with \"regular parents\" and \"regular kids\" in mainstream settings is the key to promoting true community. Often parents of children with disabilities feel isolated. Inclusive parks will break down the barrier.

-If young children are exposed to differences at a young age, and through play, they will develop appropriate empathy and understanding towards disabilities.

-Inclusion is an important concept and the long term result is that disability will not be treated as a special condition, but as an ordinary part of life that affects us all.

Who Will it Benefit?

Inclusion benefits everyone and helps develop a true sense of community and reduce stigma around disability. By separating community activities by \"ability\" and disability\", young children are given a message early on that those who are \"different\" cannot associate with those who are able bodied and minded. Children of all abilities will be able to access the swings, and have interaction with each other. This is a vital step in breaking down the barriers and changing perceptions and misconceptions around disability.