In 1990, then-President George W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. The ADA affected every industry, including public playgrounds and recreation. Now, it’s difficult to remember a world without curb cuts, ramps into buildings, and accessible restrooms.
The ADA transformed the playground industry and, more importantly, changed the conversation. The question is no longer “What is the ADA?” but instead, “How do I go beyond the ADA to create an environment that welcomes everyone?”
At Playworld, we believe play is not a luxury—it’s a right for every individual. That’s why we’ve dedicated countless hours to help ensure communities understand how to build a truly inclusive playground, going beyond ADA laws. Nearly a decade ago, we published the first edition of the Inclusive Play Design Guide, a free, in-depth resource available to anyone that wants to build an inclusive play space. Playworld’s commitment to inclusive play can also be found in our 8 Keys to Inclusion. These keys are essential to ensuring children of all abilities play together in an inclusive environment. It features important information on selecting and installing playground equipment and recommends using unitary surfacing to ensure children with mobility devices can play on all pieces of equipment—especially the “coolest thing”.
We also offer a six-module online training program, available to all communities. It’s another free resource that discusses in-depth how to create an inclusive playground. When whole planning teams take this training, they begin their project with a shared understanding of inclusive terms and strategies. The result is a beautiful playground with community acceptance and an understanding of the importance of inclusive play.
The ADA created a dialog that placed people with disabilities in the middle of the conversation and created accessibility around communities, on the bus, in our regular school classrooms, and on the playground. Playworld is proud to be a leader in accessibility and inclusion.
To learn more about designing an inclusive playground in your community, contact your Playworld representative today.