A new accessible playground is perfect for my son with Pompe
It's a step in the right direction for improving accessibility
Back in May, I wrote about searching for a more accessible playground for my 5-year-old son, Cayden. My wish seems to have come true, and I couldn’t be happier!
A few weeks ago, our town finally reopened one of its biggest playgrounds, which had been closed for a long time while it was torn down and rebuilt. Many of us local residents were upset that the project took longer than expected, but now that it’s finished, I can say it was definitely worth the wait.
Named Fort LeTort, it used to be one of those huge, wooden-castle-themed playgrounds. It was built in 1993 and has been a big attraction in our town over the years. Unfortunately, there was a lot of wear and tear, and too many kids were getting splinters or otherwise getting hurt on the equipment.
It also wasn’t very accessible. There was only one special needs swing, and aside from that, there wasn’t much for Cayden to play with. Due to his infantile-onset Pompe disease, Cayden uses a wheelchair to get around. The playground had mulch on the ground, and it was hard to wheel him through it. It also had several steps with no ramps.
Cayden still enjoyed using the swing and feeding the ducks, but that was about all he could do. Frankly, I thought it was sad. I searched high and low for a more accessible playground, which is why I was elated to learn that this new one is almost entirely accessible. The ground surface is accessible for his wheelchair, and it has several wheelchair-accessible ramps.
I’m actually waiting a bit before we take Cayden to check it out, to let the park’s newness die down a bit. It’s been pretty packed since it opened, and we’ve officially entered the cold and flu season, so I want to be careful. But once things calm down, I’ll be happy to take him. One of his school friends even invited him to go, too, an offer we’ll certainly accept.
I can’t wait to see his excitement when we enter the new playground. It’ll be so special for him to be able to play on the equipment like all of the other kids. It’s so nice to know that more places are becoming accessible. While there’s still a lot of work to do to improve accessibility, the new playground is a step in the right direction.
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