Studies shows children with disabilities spend on average a significantly less amount of time with peers than other children. ADA compliant playgrounds provide an outlet where all children can play and benefit from socializing with one another.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 2010 established the latest guidelines surrounding accessibility on public play areas. By March of 2012, schools, municipal playgrounds and licensed daycare centers were required to comply.
While ADA guidelines do not require all play components to be accessible, they do require at least one ground level component, e.g., spring riders, seesaws and diggers, to be accessible. Accessible play components must be integrated evenly throughout other play components to comply. When it comes to elevated playground equipment, at least fifty percent of the route must be accessible. The U.S. Access Board defines elevated play components as “components that are attached to a composite play structure and can be approached from a platform or deck”.
Entrances, exits and routes to ground and elevated play components must provide adequate space for wheelchairs. Ground level components require a clearance of eighty inches high. Specifics on widths of accessible routes have also been established. For ground level, the clear width of accessible routes is sixty inches; routes connecting elevated components must be a minimum of thirty-six inches wide. For additional insight, the U.S. Access Board provides a list of the complete guidelines and standards surrounding playground accessibility here.
All-inclusive playgrounds go beyond ADA requirements to ensure children with disabilities can play on all components. An NPR report highlights the additional benefits children with disabilities experience when able to play without limits. The report argues because playgrounds are not required to be fully inclusive, efforts to make public playgrounds fully accessible falls primarily to parents of children with disabilities and other members of the community.
For optimal results, playground accessibility should be taken into consideration in the initial planning stages. The purchase of wholesale equipment, surfacing and shading products yields significant savings that can then be allotted towards furthering accessibility efforts.
All children benefit from play regardless of physical ability or development. Explore all inclusive playgrounds and ADA playgrounds today!