Accessible Playgrounds and Fitness Areas

Sep 26, 2014
Tagged with: Accessible Playgrounds and Fitness Areas

 

When I was a little girl, I didn’t get to play outside much, mostly because I needed my wheelchair to get around. I do remember when I was about 7 years old, getting a swing set that was pretty cool. That gave me more time to play outside since it was in my front yard and didn’t require much travel. We did go to parks once in a while, but, as a general rule, most of my playtime was spent at home, with my own mini-Toys-R-Us, and that was just fine with me.

Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, public buildings and areas have become more inclusive, so that people who use wheelchairs or have mobility impairments can enjoy these places like people who do not have a disability. Taking this idea a step further, more communities are attempting to make playgrounds and fitness areas more accessible for all.

The health benefits to physical activity are well-known, but all of this has another health benefit that probably hasn’t occurred to anyone. Human interaction. If playgrounds and fitness areas are inclusive, it gives everyone an opportunity to interact with each other. There are various places that tailor specific workouts and programs to people with physical disabilities. From Adaptive Martial Arts to programs like those at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

The S.A.W. program, or Student Assistant Wellness Program, pairs a student that has a physical disability with a Doctoral Physical Therapy student. They then come up with an individualized workout plan based on the participant’s particular abilities. It’s a great way to promote health through physical activity, especially for people with disabilities, and increase social interaction. For anyone, especially people with disabilities, increased social interaction boosts one’s health and well-being. On the flip side, the increased interaction for people who do not have a disability helps to create an atmosphere to be more open to our abilities, and maybe even a bit more accepting. Once we’re in the general public living our lives, it’s more likely that we are viewed as everyone else. That really makes the most sense because even though we may have a unique way to accomplish some tasks, in the grand scheme of things we’re no different than the next person.

What are some of the ways you keep active in your daily life?
http://rwc.sdes.ucf.edu/programs/fitness/adaptive-recreation

https://mamasmunchkin.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/accessible-playgrounds/

NCHPAD articles:

http://www.nchpad.org/248/1627/Inclusive~Physical~Education

http://www.nchpad.org/529/2456/Designing~for~Inclusive~Play~~~Applying~the~Principles~of~Universal~Design~to~the~Playground

http://www.nchpad.org/72/534/Play~Areas~Designed~for~Access

http://www.nchpad.org/10/36/Playgrounds~for~All

http://www.nchpad.org/Directories/Programs/8389/Inclusive~Physical~Activity~Programs~-~St~~Paul~Jewish~Community~Center

 

Author: Christinne Rudd