UN convention on the rights of the child, 1989 article 31 states
“That every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.That member governments shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.”
Add the disability act ’95 that says
‘ Disabled people have the same rights as everyone else’.
Before Z started school I could go to the main park a ten minute drive away, he could run he could play on the swings, go down the slide and be like every other toddler. Fast forward two years and we have a bigger Z and no place to play. The park gets very busy after school it’s the main park, I can’t take Z then too many exits to many escape routes through woods. O.K, it maybe wheelchair friendly as there’s a swing and a roundabout but it’s not a disability friendly park. Z is now too big for the baby swings but can’t hold on to a swing, but he’s not in a wheelchair to use the wheelchair swing. I know it has a disabled toilet, I’ve never been in it, but I’m guessing it’s not a changing place, as the nearest one is ten minutes away in the town centre.
Then we come to my local park. The park was put there in 1995 and nothing has been changed since.
It’s run down, there’s nothing child friendly there never mind disabled friendly. There isn’t a swing Z can access never mind all the other local disabled children, they have no place to play.
The field is overgrown and just has bikes back and forth. This should be filled with children running about, kicking a ball just having fun.
As for the park, one broken swing, but the hole in the ground had been filled in? Why couldn’t a netted swing be put here? Why couldn’t it be removed and put something new there?
Two swings one Z is too big for the other too small as he can’t hold on. These are the only swings at one point there were two baby swings one has been changed in the last three years. Now if you take two babies one has to wait!
A climbing frame that was put there early 90’s now he’s that little bit bigger he can climb the steps and go down the slide, as for anything else the gaps are too big.
So where’s the children’s right to play?
With the summer holidays approaching there’s two weeks free swimming, that’s not for disabled children, Z would need a one to one he don’t listen or follow instructions. The same with the sport schemes the local authorities run, that’s not for Z the same as most of the children in his school couldn’t access. So where do these children get to go during the holidays? The ones that maybe already struggle with not being at school, the ones who’s missing their friends? They can’t meet up at the main park as it’s too busy, but local parks are not worth the ground they are on? Do we all just drop off our children with additional needs and say well it don’t actually state they can’t attend?
Why ? Why are disabled children forgotten? I say forgotten as it’s nicer than saying not wanted.
I drive, I’m lucky, I can go to other parks, but what about those that don’t drive, this is their local park, that child can’t play here safely, the only thing it has got going for it is the fence all the way around.
I understand people say oh budget has been cut, it wasn’t cut ten to twelve years ago when this could have been upgraded.
I’m not asking for a state of the art park, of course it would be nice! Put a hill there with a tunnel under it, an accessible swing, maybe even a roundabout, and a seasaw that works alongside a netted round swing, a spinning chair would be nice too!
It’ll never happen, or by the time they do decide to give children somewhere safe to play it will be too late for Z.