Ventura is Getting a New Inclusive Playground

If you are the parent of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) you know that your child faces many challenges that neurotypical children do not have to face. On the other hand, a child with ASD, like any child with a disability, is like every other kid in many ways. No matter what your child’s capabilities may be, kids need to have time to socialize with other kids. They also need downtime, to get outside and play.

Soon, a new playground is coming to Ventura, with the goal of facilitating playtime for all children, regardless of ability. This is very exciting news because it’s the first inclusive playground in the City of Ventura. It will be built to include all kinds of kids, and it will have rubberized surfaces so that kids can play safely without fear of injury. There will be ramps to play structures for kids with limited mobility, and sensory components, to engage every child. Shady spots and areas to sit and rest will also be incorporated, as well as equipment that enables parents and caregivers to play with the children.

Inclusive playgrounds are important, especially because nearly 13 percent of people in the United States are dealing with some sort of disability. For children with disabilities, research indicates that playgrounds are crucial in helping them form relationships with their non-disabled peers. At a playground, children can connect, discover, and grow, but in traditional playgrounds, children with differing abilities are not always able to play and participate.

In a playground that’s inclusive, children connect with each other, gain new skills, and connect intergenerationally. They’re able to exercise their bodies, as well as their imaginations. When people of diverse ages and differing abilities are able to freely interact on a playground, they reap the benefits of socializing with people whose paths they might not otherwise cross. These playgrounds promote community engagement, as disparate groups of people interact with each other.

In Ventura, design plans for the new playground are still being finalized. Construction is slated to begin in the fall of 2020, with the hope of opening the new park in the winter. Fundraising is ongoing, as the city’s funds only cover a portion of the project.

If your child has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, STAR of CA is here to offer support. One of the ways we do that is by keeping you in the loop on all things ASD in our community, whether it’s a new playground, a sensory-friendly event, a social activity, or an educational opportunity. Founded in 2006, STAR of CA offers behavioral and psychological services to people with ASD and related disorders in a nurturing environment that offers support for the entire family. We love what we do, and are devoted to improving lives through focused, caring services. You can contact us through our website or by calling 805.588.8896.

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