In 2001 and 2002, Landscape Structures Inc. consulted with the United States Access Board to draft Accessibility Guidelines for play areas under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These guidelines established minimum standards for all newly built or altered play areas, and indicated not only what is to be accessible, but also how to achieve it. For the first time, children with disabilities were given access to the world of play at schools, parks and child care centers.
But for us that was only the beginning. Now that a path to the playground had been cleared for all children, we focused our energies on making the playground fun for everyone. In 2003, we introduced Sway Fun®—the first play event designed to allow children with disabilities to not only be in the middle of play, but to lead it. A year later, the Thunderhead Climber® was introduced. This new rotationally molded transfer module doubled as a climber, and enabled children with disabilities to climb and hang out with everyone else.
Landscape architects, school principals, parents and park directors have looked beyond the minimum requirements for accessibility, and worked tirelessly with us to achieve something great. One such customer is Randy Trousdell, director of parks and recreation for the City of Tallahassee. By working closely with the Tallahassee chapter of Rotary International and his local representative, Rep Services, Inc., Randy created a playground that has become a destination for children of all ages and abilities.
The Rotary Centennial Playground at Tom Brown Park includes a Sway Fun glider, many accessible reach panels, integrated shade structures and recycled rubber surfacing for easy use with wheelchairs. Most importantly, its design puts children with disabilities at the center of play.
For more information about designing and installing a beyond accessible playground, contact your local Landscape Structures playground consultant, or browse our selection of beyond accessible designs.