'PLAYGROUNDS FOR EVERYONE': NPR NEWS CREATES COMMUNITY GUIDE TO ACCESSIBLE PLAYGROUNDS
Report on Federal Mandate for "Inclusive" Playgrounds Airing on 'All Things Considered'
Today, NPR News reports on a growing movement, backed by a new federal mandate, to build "accessible" playgrounds meant to include children with disabilities – and releases a first-of-its-kind, community-edited guide to such playgrounds nationwide. "Playgrounds for Everyone" maps 1300+ accessible playgrounds – with features like smooth surfaces, swings with backs or safety harnesses, ramps to allow children to access play towers and slides, or sound-play features like drums or chimes.
And while it's the most comprehensive resource available, the "Playgrounds for Everyone" app is still far from complete. NPR needs the public to identify more playgrounds, and share photos, info and tips for the ones already in the app. Get involved now at: http://npr.org/playgrounds
The app coincides with a report on the issue of accessible playgrounds, airing today on All Things Considered. Robert Benincasa of NPR's Investigations Unit reports that federal law now defines playground accessibility as a civil right under the Americans with Disabilities Act, requiring that structures built or altered after March 2012 to meet those standards. Kids in wheelchairs need smooth surfaces to navigate; some inclusive playgrounds offer Braille or textured materials for kids with sight impairments. But as Benincasa reports, such playground features are cost-prohibitive for many municipalities, leading parents and activists to seek support from local civic groups to raise funds.
The App: How to Participate
"Playgrounds for Everyone" is designed to be a community-edited guide to accessible playgrounds. NPR's news apps team has identified 1300 and counting nationwide. Many more are unaccounted for. To participate:
- Identify accessible playgrounds, and add them to the database. Do any have smooth, resilient surfaces that are accessible to wheelchairs, or are their surfaces sand or wood chips, which wheelchairs cannot navigate?
- Characterize the local play opportunities for disabled children. There is space on each playground page to add comments, tips and even photos of key features.
- Provide feedback. Go to the accessible playgrounds app, test it out, add to it and comment.
NPR Media Relations: Cara Philbin
Email: mediarelations (at) npr.org