Playgrounds

Essential Pittsburgh
3:45 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Transitioning to a New Generation of Playgrounds

Playgrounds made or reformed after March 15 of this past year are required to make changes to be more accessible for children with disabilities.
Credit Alexandra Kanik / PublicSource

Narrow slides and flimsy swings are what most people think of when they hear the word playground. But based on a 2010 court ruling, those trademarks of the past are changing. The US Department of Justice made access to play areas a civil right under the Americans with Disabilities Act and new standards took effect last year.

Public Source Reporter Halle Stockton reports that the playgrounds that are required to make these changes are new or majorly reformed playgrounds that began modifications after March 15.

But many playgrounds have already altered their equipment to fit the needs of all children. Some of these changes include a smooth ground surface that's usually rubberized to prevent injuries. You'll also find play structures with ramps along with wide pathways so that children on wheelchairs or a cane can maneuver throughout. The swings also have “rollercoaster seats” to provide back support for children with low muscle tone.

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Community
9:55 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Playgrounds Unwelcoming to Disabled Children

John Buss lifts his daughter, Missy, 9, from her wheelchair to the accessible swing at The Children’s Institute Playground in Squirrel Hill. The Institute serves disabled children, and its playground is a model of accessibility.
Credit Alexandra Kanik / PublicSource

Missy Buss, a 9-year-old who can’t walk or talk, endures a 45-minute drive to the closest swing that will accommodate a wheelchair -- a treat that relaxes her shoulders and coaxes a smile.

Her mom, Wendy Grossman, thinks there would be more friends around the house if a playground near their Tarentum home allowed Missy to play alongside others.

Cheryl Dennis of Squirrel Hill talks about “the coolest” playground in the Pittsburgh area, but it’s a place she can’t take her son, Spencer, to play with his sisters because he has balance and coordination problems.

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Community
2:35 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Nationwide, An Effort to Make Playgrounds More Accessible

Playground equipment at Armstrong Field in Pittsburgh's South Side. There is a growing movement across the country to build playgrounds that are designed to include children with disabilities.
Credit Michael Lynch / 90.5 WESA

There is a growing national movement, spurred at least in part by a federal mandate, to build playgrounds that are designed to include children with disabilities.

In 2011, the Department of Justice adopted revisions to the American With Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design. One of the changes by the Justice Department to the ADA involves playgrounds that are used by children ages 2 and older in a variety of public settings, including school yards.

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