Thursday, August 7, 2014

Inclusive Features of Jonathan’s Dream Reimagined

Jonathan’s Dream was and is designed to be a place where children and people of all ages and all abilities can celebrate life together. When the original Jonathan’s Dream was designed, it was considered ‘wheelchair accessible’ and intergenerational, one of the first playgrounds of its kind in the country.  Jonathan’s Dream Reimagined will also be ‘wheelchair accessible’ and intergenerational but it will be so much more as you will see below.  Although every child will not be able to do everything (play activities designed for children with specific disabilities may not be usable by children with other disabilities), every child will be able to do many things throughout the playground.

Children Who Have Physical Mobility Challenges:  Want the same opportunities that children without physical disabilities have; want to be in the middle of the fun and be able to get to and play on the raised play structures.
Activities: Access to playground and play structures (Tree House, Sway Fun, Zip Krooz – zip line, Beluga Island, Labyrinth, Sensory Gardens); fully accessible pathways including paths around and throughout the playground

Children Who Have Autism: Can  be easily overwhelmed in new places with new people; like to climb, spin, swing and run using big muscles; like to touch, see and hear different sounds when playing; often like to play alone when feeling overwhelmed by the activity around them; enjoy predictable, repetitive behavior

Activities:  Create a way for child to understand layout of playground (tactile map at entry); Variety of Climbing, Spinning, Swinging and Open Areas to explore at their own pace (everywhere); Variety of Sensory Play Opportunities to explore at their own pace (Sensory Gardens; Music Therapy, Beluga Island); Nooks & Crannies at main play structure where a child can play in a quieter space

Children Who Have Down Syndrome: Love playing with others; need to spin and have activities that improve muscle coordination; use pictures and sign language to communicate; slower developmental (physical) and cognitive (learning) growth, benefits from experiencing motion through swings

Activities:  Support socialization (basically the entire playground); Climbing Structures with handrail support; Sensory/Body Awareness Opportunities (Rolling down Rollerslide on back; light reflection under Rollerside; Rocking Clatterbridge); Play Sgnage with picture exchange systems and sign language

Children Who Have Auditory Impairment: Can hear different sounds and find different ways to communicate; like to explore other senses especially touch and sight; static from plastic slides can negatively impact children who have Cochlear implants

Activities:   Use variety of sounds throughout the playground to help build auditory skills (Talk Tubes, Music Elements, Misting); Opportunities for tactile and visual play experiences (Treehouse Panels, Sensory Garden Elements); Opportunities to swing and climb (see above). Play signage with pictures and sign language (Treehouse Panels; Mailbox Signage)

Children Who Have Sensory Processing Disorders: Children get overwhelmed in new places; end up playing alone because of difficulty connecting; trouble coordinating big movements that use big muscles
Activities:  Nooks & Crannies at main play structure where a child can play quietly (Treehouse, Organic Structure); Climbing Elements of varying difficulties (Treehouse, Icon, Helix, Bloqx, Organic Structure); Swings (Highback, Belt & Oodle); Sensory Opportunities throughout 
playground so  child can explore at their own pace; Spinning & Rotating (Spinner Bowl, Supernova or Omnispinner); Areas where a child can play with one or two friends at a time so they can build social skills; Face to Face/Cause & Effect Play (Structure Panels, Sensory Garden, Floating Rocks, Dancers, Abacus, Wheelchair Wave, Beluga Island); Touch and Hear Different Sounds when playing (Music, Sound Garden) 

Children Who Have Visual Impairment: May be able to see some light and shadow; explore using other senses especially touch and hearing; must be cautious when it’s sunny; like to climb and swing

Activities:   Color Contrast offered through contrasting surfacing and equipment colors/deck & step transitions; Tactile and Auditory Play Experiences (Treehouse Puzzle and Textural Panels, Sensory Garden and Music Elements; Maze; Paving Textures); Experiences that allow practice of visual processing (Elements that move in the wind, Chimes, Mazes, Mirrors in Sensory Garden and on play structure); Shade & Cooling (Shade canopies; play structure roofs; under deck spaces; organic structure interior; shade trees); Handrail Support

If you know of children who have other disabilities, please let us know so we can incorporate their needs into the design of Jonathan’s Dream – Reimagined.  
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