Saturday, September 8, 2012

Accessible Playground For People With Disabilities

I forgot all about this park until I just came across an article about it. Thanks, Arc Circle of Family and Friends!

It’s called Morgan’sWonderland, located in Texas, and it’s designed for kids and people with disabilities to enjoy. It’s a place where special needs kids and able-bodied siblings can have fun together. Families can have meaningful quality time that everybody can enjoy.  It has some great features and it’s very inexpensive. Anybody in the disabled community knows that when you add the word “special”, or any variant of it, to something it automatically boosts the cost of the product or service by at least 20%. Not here. One-day passes for adults: $15; kids: $10: special needs: $0. Can't get much better than that!

I read an article about it in Family CircleThis choked me up when I read it:
"Before the park, I had to sit back and watch everyone else play," says 18-year-old Miguel Castro of San Antonio, who has spina bifida and is in a wheelchair. He celebrated his 17th birthday party at the park. "If I had to pick a favorite ride, it would be the swings. I hadn't been on one since I was 2 or 3 years old, and didn't really remember what it felt like," says Miguel. "Now I can go on them whenever we visit, and have fun like everyone else. It means everything to me."

Can you imagine not being able to remember what it felt like to be on a swing because your body wouldn't allow you to get into one after the age of 2 or 3? How many times did you play at the park or on the school grounds for recess with your friends? Did you slide down a huge slide or sit in the tire swing with a couple of buddies and spin, spin, spin till you got so dizzy you almost threw up? Did you play tag and chase each other on the monkey bars? In elementary school, we called the playground equipment “the big toy”. I have lots of awesome memories from playing on that thing.
My daughter has never and WILL never be able to play on a big toy. She can’t get on those swings or go up and down that slide even though she really, really wants to. I don’t even go anywhere where she would be watching other kids screaming in delight on one because of the torture on her face. If you think I’m exaggerating, take your own kid, niece, nephew, neighbor’s kid, whoever, to a park, sit them right in front of it and tell them they can watch from their seat but they can’t get up and they can’t go play.
That all sounds depressing, doesn’t it? I just keep in mind that it’s only one thing she can’t do. But I often wonder what the heck I’m gonna do when my son gets old enough to want to go to the park. I can’t NOT let him go; I can’t take the girl. The only thing I can figure is I will have to have separate play dates with my own kids!

I wonder what other parents of kids with and without disabilities do in these situations??


  1. Well, Adam had his near drown when he was 12 and was a AAA hockey goalie, baseball all-star, girlfriend and rest of the backpack. Life changed as we knew it. After the first year, old friends disappeared, family never appeared, school focused on his paraprofessional. I could never take him back to his old haunts, in fact we eventually moved 150 miles away. Mom and Dad, his therapists and daily bodywork are his life, much to my dismay a hospital bed and old movies he liked before the accident are his friends. It tears you apart and it's a wound that never heals. I just have to focus on being his best friend, always there; hopefully the other stuff won't matter. Tough topic!!

    1. Yes, very tough. I think people who are not in this situation don't realize how much it affects the parents, too.
      Some get scared off because they "don't know what to say". Wouldn't it be nice if they could even just say that sometimes rather than drop off the face of the earth completely?
      I'm grateful that Adam was given to parents like you & your wife.