Author: Austin Stanfel
Meaningful playing opportunities are significant for every child. Due to ample opportunities for playing, children see a considerable amount of improvement in their emotional well-being, physical health, mental development, and social skills. When children play together, they voluntarily or involuntarily end up in situations that make them feel active, competent, and very powerful.
This view of being powerful is especially very important for children who have disabilities, as it allows them to experience the capacity of their actions. Furthermore, it also made them feel their own choices and thought processes along with the impact that they have on themselves and other people.
This is one of the significant reasons why inclusive play is crucial for the mental growth of children. Due to inclusion, children with and without disabilities both learn that they are capable of taking risks, competent and that they dare to climb high. At the same time, they also realize that fostering friendships is not as difficult after all. As a result of this, children are also able to get rid of social anxiety.
According to several surveys, around 85 children between the age of 3 and 21 have a disability of one form or the other. At the same time, one in every six children has a developmental disability.
Hence, it is essential to encourage inclusion in playgrounds. Furthermore, opportunities for social, emotional, communicative, cognitive, and physical development should also be provided to children during inclusive play for a worthwhile experience.
It is said that beyond disabilities, lie abilities and beyond accessibility, lies inclusion. We should hence consider limitations to be a natural human experience, which should not strip a child off from participating in different childhood aspects fully. This is because often at times, disabilities are considered as an inability of the child to experience the environment fully due to limitations.
Hence, people all over the world need to realize that all children have the right to full participation and independence during play. Furthermore, no child must ever face any inequality due to things that he or she has no control over.
In this regard, there is a unique need for environments that are planned thoughtfully. Furthermore, several programs and services can encourage equal o0poprtunities for all children, regardless of their disabilities and age. While it is crucial to remove physical barriers, too, they do not necessarily promise inclusion.
The most important thing to do is to increase the contact among children that have different abilities in playgrounds. Inclusion often always remains non-existent due to this lack of connection. In this regard, teaching children how to play together and about differences/similarities between themselves and others can also help. This provides children all the tools that they need to be more accepting of other children with disabilities. As a result of this, they are far more welcoming in a playground. At the same time, it provides children with disabilities the confidence that they need to participate effectively.