Inclusive Play Design Specialist spotlight

Once a month Play by Playworld highlights Playworld Systems distributors who are certified Inclusive Play Design Specialists (IPDS). In June, we spoke with Playworld Midstates own Rick Walsh.

What surprised you during the inclusive play training?rick walsh

I was amazed by what I learned from the Play Richness section, which aids in the selection of equipment for all ages and abilities. Play Richness changed how I look at playground setup and layout, as well as location of the individual components.

In your opinion, what’s the most interesting aspect of the Inclusive Play Design Guide?

For me, I was astonished to learn about the amount of work that went into pulling the Guide together. The qualifications of the team behind the Guide are very impressive and their knowledge helped make the Guide an invaluable tool. The level of detail in the Inclusive Play Design Guide is incredible.

What project are you the most proud of designing?

Playworld Midstates was selected for a playground project at the new elementary schools built within my children’s school district. The design includes many pieces of equipment that are accessible for all. As a parent, I felt good knowing that my kindergartener and second grader would be able to play alongside their peers with varying abilities.

Tell us one way that being an IPDS has helped you in your job.

The knowledge gained by being an IPDS is most helpful when I am working with landscape architects. I can confidently point out the differences between designing a fully inclusive playground and one that is, only ADA compliant, meaning it follows guidelines for accessibility set under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s important to build a playground that will provide a rich play environment for people with all types of disabilities, not just those with mobility challenges.

How have you used the Inclusive Play Design Guide to your advantage?

Recently, a landscape architect was so impressed with our knowledge of inclusive play that he allowed us to redesign a playground layout using the IPDG criteria.

Why should other people take the time to become an Inclusive Play Design Specialist?

Being an Inclusive Play Design Specialist diversifies the way each individual looks at play spaces; there is more than one solution to any issue faced. Every space needs to be scaled to meet the needs of both the customer and the community. This sounds simple, but the training really brings it home. Being an Inclusive Play Design Specialist helps me realize the different levels of challenges individuals face every day.