In 2017, we will be working with policy makers with the goal of creating legislation and developing guidelines related to accessible and inclusive play spaces within Alberta.
Currently, there is no legislation, coordinated strategy or formalized supports, research or resources in Alberta that require, encourage or support a strategic and comprehensive approach to adding accessible and inclusive play spaces in Alberta. We will advocate and submit considerations for legislation, policies and strategies so that children with varying abilities are not restricted from playing.
We have learned from our research in looking at accessible playgrounds throughout our province that few playgrounds in Alberta are truly accessible and those that are usually offer limited play value for children with disabilities. We want to eliminate discrimination and/or barriers that individuals with various types of disabilities face by creating standardized design spaces that includes inclusive play equipment and encourages interactive play and invites children otherwise restricted to the sidelines to engage and play with their peers. Playgrounds are supposed to be an avenue for everyone to be able to come together and play in one place, and yet children who have disabilities are often excluded because the design of the space did not take into consideration their needs.
Through initiatives like these, we can provide children with specialized needs the opportunity to join other children in play – a right that all children should have.