June 10, 2010

Kaboom.org highlights: Access to play

All children deserve a place to play, but not all children can use a typical playground. For 15 years, KaBOOM! playmaker Mara Kaplan has devoted herself to increasing access to play for children of all abilities. Mara recently posted to her KaBOOM! blog about new accessible playgrounds opening around the country:

Last month was an incredible one for people who want more accessible playgrounds. Fifteen barrier-free accessible playgrounds opened or were dedicated in May from Rhode Island to Texas… Some of these playgrounds took many, many, many years for the community to raise the money. The stories are varied, but they all in common that parents wanted a place where all children could play together.

Read the full post to learn more about these playgrounds.

Wondering what accessibility really means? Great question! Mara recently asked our community the same thing:

Can skate parks be accessible? This is a very interesting question—because it all comes back to the fact that every person, regardless of their abilities, is different. I can tell you that I am considered able-bodied, but there is no way that a skate park would be accessible to me—as I am completely incapable of using a skate board. So it also comes back to the question of what does "accessible" mean?

Can someone who uses a sports wheelchair use a skate park? Can someone who is on the autism spectrum use a skate park to get sensory input? If a skate park has many different difficulty levels, can someone who is developmentally delayed and is 16 years old, play alongside their 16-year-old peers but in different areas of park?

What do you think? Add your two cents here.

One of the responses included a link to this amazing video. If you don’t think someone in a wheelchair can access a skate park, think again! (Warning: Do not try this at home.)

Mara runs a consulting firm, Let Kids Play, and a website, accessibleplayground.net, which offers a directory of accessible playgrounds across the country. You can visit Mara's KaBOOM! profile here. Stop by and say hi!

kaboom.org highlights, skateparks, kaboom.org, accessibility