Playgrounds for Everyone

NPR.org’s new website features the ability to allow visitors to add new locations.

If you have a child with special needs, you know how difficult it can be to find a park where you can allow your child to have fun and release energy without having to endure a stress-induced aneurysm in your parental brain. (Be sure to read Kelli’s post on her playground anxieties – something she still struggles with a bit today!) Wide-open spaces without fences, tall under-maintained park toys, heavy swings that you know were built with the specific purpose to whack your child in the head — all bathing in a large sandbox that you know is used by the neighborhood animals as their personal toilet.

Lately, local communities and governments have been slowly realizing the need for safer parks and playgrounds. With that “safety epiphany” has also come an awareness that parks from 20 years ago left many children watching from the sidewalks — yearning to be included in the fun. Parents didn’t feel safe bringing their special-needs child to these parks for fear they would either get hurt or wander away during that split second when the parent’s eyes were not in direct sight of their child.

NPR.org has recently launched a new web site that brings light to this trend of special-needs playgrounds and parks. “Playground for Everyone” is a crowd-sourced directory of accessible parks and play areas across the U.S. and allows users to add any locations that don’t appear in the search. I’ve already added a couple of parks that we knew about in our area.

This is a great resource – in just a couple of minutes of searching I discovered parks and playgrounds in the Indianapolis area I didn’t even know about! This would also serve parents well that are traveling with their children or moving to a new location and are still learning the area.

Check out the web site and be sure to add any playgrounds that you know are accessible and special-needs friendly!