Efforts to make playground accessible should be praised

  • Posted: 1/10/2013 1:28 PM
    6/1/2013 6:12 PM

Every child deserves a place to play, regardless of their physical abilities.

That's why the new adaptive playground currently being developed at Riverview Park and the City of North Augusta should be lauded.

The playground is taking shape beyond the outfield of North Augusta High School's softball field. Though it has a particular emphasis on being accessible to the handicapped, it is a facility that can used by every child. It will be the first of its kind in North Augusta.

Adaptive playground equipment includes, but is not limited to, molded swing seats, wheelchair-accessible swing platforms, wheelchair ramps, rocking toys outfitted with harnesses, play panels at ground level, and nonplastic slides which won't affect hearing aids.

The playground will have a rubberized surface, rather than sand, which is more navigable for wheelchairs.

Hopefully, the City of North Augusta will take advantage of several resources available for adaptive playgrounds, like Boundless Playgrounds. It is a nonprofit organization with a vision to create all-inclusive environments where children of all abilities can play together.

The City of Aiken opened a similar all-accessible playground at the Aiken County Library in 2011, which has been enjoyed by loads of children since.

A feature there is a tic-tac-toe board incorporating Braille so children with vision impairments can play.

In play, children do so much more than work off excess energy. Play is refreshing and rejuvenating. Children learn about themselves and their world. Studies show play can help a child development language skills and develop their fine and gross motor skills. It encourages independence, self-esteem, and creativity.

What a wonderful asset it will be to North Augusta to have a playground that lets every child, despite their abilities, take part in the joy of playing.