Playgrounds For All Abilities

Posted on September 6th, 2013 by Denise | No Comments

Playgrounds for All Abilities

By

Denise Koonce OTR

Living in a large metropolitan area has its benefits and its deficits.  One of the deficits is the amount of concrete, buildings and roads that are necessary for a large city.  However, in order to make a city more conducive to living, green spaces such as parks, become essential.  We are fortunate in Houston and surrounding areas to have numerous parks.  Despite the amount of parks and playgrounds available Houston did not have a playground that was accessible to all.  Fortunately, Be An Angel Foundation started to change that situation.  Be An Angel Foundation was created in 1986 by a concerned parent who realized the tremendous needs in the areas of equipment, services, and programs for children with special needs.  One of the many areas they have focused on is accessible playgrounds.  Be an Angel Foundation has been providing funding for accessible playgrounds for over 26 years.  They began providing funding for accessible playgrounds in local and surrounding schools first but have also helped build playgrounds in community parks.  Here is a partial list of the community parks they have helped build

  • Bear Branch Park              5200 Research Forest Dr., the woodlands, TX, 77381
  • Lindsay Lyons Park          2310 Atascocita Rd, Humble, TX 77396
  • City of Katy                         5718 Second St., Katy, TX 77493
  • Kasmiersky Park               889 Old Magnolia Rd., Conroe, TX, 77304

For a complete listing of the accessible playgrounds including the school playgrounds, please go to their website at www.beanagel.org/prog_playgrounds

The City of Houston built its first accessible playground in 1995 in Hermann Park.  The Buddy Carruth Playground for All has wheelchair accessible ramps making available various above ground play equipment and an interactive water play area.  The Houston Parks Board, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, works in conjunction with the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, to oversee funding and building of the city parks.  A campaign to build more accessible parks began in 2006 under the direction of Dr. Carolyn Farb entitled “Playgrounds Without Limits Campaign”.  Since its inception they have been able to fund five Playgrounds Without Limits.  These playgrounds are

  • Alief Park Playground Without Limits                                                                    11903 Bellaire Blvd. 77072
  • Eastwood Park CVS Boundless Playground                                                           5000 Harrisburg Blvd. 77011
  • Memorial Park Vale-Asche Foundation Playground without Limits          6501 Memorial Dr. 77007
  • Tidwell Park Playground Without Limits                                                                9720 Spaulding 77016
  • Playground Without Limits – Metropolitan Multi-Service Center              1475 West Gray 77019

Playgrounds built for all vary in size, equipment, shade, and design.  Each playground offers its own unique combination whether it is recumbent swings, wheelchair accessible monkey bars, roll on wheelchair swings, sensory stations, Braille plates, or trails.  Regardless, they provide the opportunity especially for individuals with special needs to access the same imaginative physical play as the rest of the kids so they are not limited to the sidelines.  Make an accessible playground a destination spot, bring a picnic and plan to stay a while.  Work your way through the community playground list and visit all of them.  Check the Be An Angel website for a school near you with an accessible playground and call the school to find out if it is available for use during non school hours.  No matter your ability there is a play area for you.  So get out and play!  If you have visited any of these playgrounds please share your experience with us.

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