Many of our fondest childhood memories are formed whilst at play. And very often, a playground would be part of these memories. Children with special needs may not have such luxury as they are usually watching from the side. Children using wheelchairs would never imagine they could ever go onto a swing – until now.
The opening of a 600sq m playground within Canberra Park in Sembawang is Singapore’s first inclusive playground that is fitted with special features that enable children with special needs to enjoy what it is to be in a playground.
Ready since April 2015, the playground has wheelchair-friendly features such as a ramp and handrails, panels with bells and drums for children with visually impairment and even swings with seats that can secure children with physical disabilities. There are also sensory motion features on the regular slides and swings which allow wheelchair-users to park themselves inside and experience the swaying sensations.
Mr Abhimanyau Pal, executive director of SPD, said: “Inclusive playgrounds like this will enable children with special needs to have fun alongside their able-bodied peers. This is a positive step towards helping them integrate into the mainstream society early in their lives and encourage them to be ‘out there’ participating actively with their peers rather than be an observer from the outside. This also creates opportunities for interaction between able-bodied children and those with disabilities which will result in greater understanding and acceptance in the next generation of Singaporeans.”
“We hope there will be greater awareness and publicity of such amenities to optimise their use, and the authorities will continue to apply universal designs when planning for public facilities so that people of all abilities can participate meaningfully in all aspects of the community,” he added.
This is another positive step towards being an inclusive Singapore and we look forward to more of such initiatives.