Help us make playgrounds truly accessible for Kereni and other wheelchair users.

Help us make playgrounds truly accessible for Kereni and other wheelchair users.

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Lesley Scammell started this petition to Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. Essex County Executive and

When my friend Iris heard about the all access playground being built in Watsessing Park she and her family were overjoyed. Especially excited was her eleven year old daughter, Kereni, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. The park opened in July 2019. So why is she so disappointed? 
 
The park is described as fully accessible however it only includes one piece of equipment that is wheelchair accessible (a glider, which already exists in a neighboring playground).

The reality for many children who use wheelchairs is that it is not easy for them to be moved from their wheelchair to play equipment and back again. Some children cannot be put in a swing without the aid of two people. There are also plenty of children who use wheelchairs who have poor or no upper body control and would find it nearly impossible to sit in a bucket seat without a harness. None of the bucket seats on any of the swings, see-saw or roundabout have harnesses.

The county invested over $1.4 million in this playground without thoughtfully designing for and considering the needs of kids who are wheelchair-bound. 
 
Play is fun but also essential to a child’s well being, Children develop their vestibular senses (think balance, spatial orientation, coordination) by swinging, spinning and twirling. Vestibular movement is in fact considered critical to brain development. This is even more important for children who have mobility impairments, and may be confined to a wheelchair, because it helps them understand and analyze how their bodies function in space and helps to develop skills that most of us take for granted, something as simple as judging how far away an object is so that you don’t bump into it.
 
We are surrounded by playgrounds with play equipment that is not accessible to wheelchair users but investing in playgrounds that are truly accessible to all is of immeasurable benefit to the entire community. Wheelchair accessible play equipment is something all kids can play on together.
 
Ultimately this playground, while a wonderful park for many kids, has not been thoughtfully designed to be of real benefit to all children with disabilities. There is a variety of wheelchair accessible play equipment available and it is not too late for Essex County to make our park truly accessible to Kereni and other children with mobility impairments.
 
Therefore, we ask that, at the very least, Essex County install a wheelchair-accessible swing and roundabout and install proper harnesses in the swings and other equipment with bucket seats so that kids in wheelchairs can gain real enjoyment and benefit from this playground.  This will allow the playground to truly be an all-access playground and allow for able-bodied kids to play hand in hand with their friends with mobility impairments.
 
Universal design includes the notion that if you think of everyone possible all people benefit, not only people with disabilities. I’ve seen the joy and the huge difference it can make in Kereni’s life to have access to things we take for granted. Please help Kereni to convince Joseph Divincenzo to do right by all children with disabilities.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!