The rise of inclusive playgrounds all around Colorado gives children with disabilities not only the opportunity to have access to playgrounds but to also be fully immersed in the playground equipment just as any other child would. You may be confused about what exactly an inclusive playground is and what makes it different from an accessible playground. There are a couple key differences from the actual level of accessibility to creating more social interaction between peers, here is an overview.
Inclusive Playgrounds vs. Accessible: The Difference
When describing the difference between inclusive and accessible playgrounds, it really comes down to the fact that accessible playgrounds give access to all the equipment on a playground from ramps to different platforms and a more open layout to allow for greater movement around the playground but still in many ways limits how much functionality children with disabilities will be able to get from the equipment, such as being able to go on swings or use slides. Because of this, although everything may accessible, the remaining limitations can still create a sense of isolation or feeling like they may not be able to participate in the same way as others. Inclusive playgrounds on the other hand, take the idea of accessibility and bring it many steps further to not only make playgrounds fully accessible but build the equipment that can be used by truly everyone or provides alternatives in addition to traditional playground equipment so that everyone has an opportunity to participate. Some examples of inclusive equipment would include gliders which allows for wheelchairs to move seamlessly from structure to structure and merry-go-rounds with seating as well as a variety of new types of sensory stations.
Benefits of Inclusive Playgrounds
As the number of inclusive playgrounds in the area grows, families of all abilities are able to see the multitude of benefits with one of the main ones being socialization. As stated before, when a playground is just merely accessible, it can have an isolating affect that makes children with disabilities feel self-conscious that they are not quite fitting in. However, when the equipment can be used by all in many different ways, it allows children to play with everyone while still maintaining their own levels of comfort and ability. Another benefit to inclusive playgrounds is multi-generational play. Often parents or grandparents may take children to the park but because of steep platforms or entrances that are too small, they may not be able to actually participate with their children. Since inclusive playground equipment addresses many of these challenges it lets the grownups interact with their children more as well.
Accessible Parks In Colorado
Currently in Colorado there are several inclusive playgrounds located all over the state with more being built or retrofitted all the time! Here is the current list of ones you can find:
2200 S Kipling Street, Lakewood (View on a Map)
7577 W 103rd Ave, Westminster (View on a Map)
E.B Rains Jr. Memorial Park
11701 Community Center Drive, Northglenn (View on a Map)
STAR Institute Playground
5420 S Quebec Street, Greenwood Village (View on a Map)
Red-tailed Hawk Park
23701 East Hinsdale Way, Aurora (View on a Map)
As you can see, inclusive playgrounds offer a variety of benefits for people of all ages and abilities. From giving everyone access, to increasing potential for socialization, and the ability to get the whole family involved, they are an up an coming feature that benefits the whole community. With more and more being built all over the state, there is sure to be one near your family that can be enjoyed by all.