Winter 2020

celebratepotential51

Susie Redfern developed Milestones Magazine to help individuals with disabilities and their families achieve and celebrate events and milestones in their lives.

“Children Learn Through Play” is a long-expressed

truism. Children go through stages of play, from solo

(playing alone) to parallel (playing alongside other

children) to cooperative (playing with other children).

Through play, children gain physical and social skills,

among other benefits.

In order to play, kids need somewhere to play.

For most children, one of those places is a

playground. However, for children with challenges,

going (or being taken to) a typical neighborhood

or community playground can be, at best, a

disappointing experience. The equipment might be

out of their reach, the playground surface may not

easily accommodate a wheelchair or other mobility

equipment, and so on.

Various organizations, including public and private

schools, and park districts, have met that need with

“inclusive playgrounds”. Typically, these projects have

been funded with both public funds and donations. In

the Chicago area, inclusive playgrounds can be found

in many towns, including Aurora, Bartlett, Lisle,

Naperville, New Lenox, Oak Brook, Downers Grove,

Barrington, Wheaton and South Elgin.

Some inclusive playground projects have been

spearheaded by parents advocating for their children.

One such project came about through the efforts

of parent Peg Chaidez, in response to her son’s

experience getting stuck and left alone in his

wheelchair on his elementary school’s playground

when the bell rang.

Peg founded Dream Build Play Experience

(dbpexperience.com), and teamed up with Sharon

Duncan of Abide in Me (abideinme.org), an

organization dedicated to helping people with

disabilities live active and engaged lives. The first

playground funded was built at her son’s school in

Downers Grove.

References: Chicago Special Parent issuu.com/

chicagoparent/docs/chicagospecialparent_0819 and

issuu.com/chicagoparent/docs/special_parent_

summer_2015 M

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