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Diversity on the Playground

Every child is different, so why should every playground be the same? People want their child to be able to live their lives outside, enjoying activities with other kids. But what if your child was just a little bit different than the typical child? There are a wide range of cognitive and physical struggles that children must face, but they are still children with the same needs as every other child out there. Every child has the right to go to a playground and have a great time with their peers. It is a necessity that parks find a way to be accommodating to all children.

Imagine how you would feel like if you took your child to the playground and there was no activity there that your child could participate in. This is how many parents of differently-able children feel. Every parent wants to have their child included in activities and treated kindly. Children simply do not need things to make them feel like they are anything less than deserving people. This is exactly what happens when they are excluded from anything.

As children are younger, playgrounds are an area where there is a lot of socializing going on. At an early age, these are where children have most of their interactions with their peers. Playgrounds are a place for all children; not just the ones who are considered to be “typical”. Sure there are mandates where public parks must have ramps to make them accessible to everyone, but what is the point if you are not going to make your parks usable by everyone? If you are going to make the parks easy to access, you need to be sure that you make it so that differently-able children are able to use these parks as well as every other child. Playgrounds are especially lacking when it comes to sports activities, such as basketball.

Even more than just having the right equipment, there needs to be encouragement among their peers. Children need to create an environment where everyone feels welcome, one without bullying. It is much easier to go through the mainstreaming process when you are part of a community that treats others with respect. A recreational playground where kids encourage others or are more concerned about having fun than winning is going to be a more inclusive environment for children of all abilities.

You can see that playgrounds play a huge role in the social development of children. As a community, we all need to do better to ensure all of the children in our area have a great place where they can have fun with other kids. Our communities need to begin addressing this very important need because inclusive play is important to the development of all kids. There is a serious problem with differently-able children being significantly underserved in their community when it comes to the parks that their peers are playing at. Every child should be able to go to a park and play basketball with other children without worrying about being left out.

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