Reelfoot Lake State Park Special Needs Park

Reelfoot Lake State Park Special Needs Park

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Chelsi Martin started this petition to Reelfoot Lake State Park

So Nolan and I had a bad experience at Reelfoot Lake Park. This photo was before it all went down.

Nolan loves water, no doubt about it. He’s one of those autistics that’s “drawn to water”. Scary but true. I call him little Moana.

He spotted the water shortly after being there. I tried to choose one of the parks where it was distant but.. that didn’t work.

He tried everything he could to get in the water. Mind you, it wasn’t shallow. I sat on the edge of the rocks, clinging to dear life as I called Chris to come help me. He was just right down the road. Nolan was screaming at the top of his lungs, inching his way closer and closer off the edge of the rock trying just to make it in the water. At one point, I had him by his feet. When Nolan is in fight or flight mode, he’s strong. Stronger than you can imagine for a 3 year old. It took everything I had to keep a grip of him.

It looked like one of those scenarios where a parent doesn’t discipline their child. People were nearby, and people were staring. Some people eventually left with their child because I’m sure we were being an inconvenience. But not one person offered to help me get Nolan away from the edge. I know they didn’t know about Nolan’s disability because he “looks normal”. But doesn’t it take a village for any child?

I’m wanting to present Reelfoot Lake State Park with the idea of building a special needs park. One that’s fenced in to oppose the risk of any child drowning just like Nolan could of that day. One that’s wheelchair accessible to any child local or visiting who may want to participate in fun. One with special needs swings and sensory equipment to benefit any sensory need of a differently abled child or even adult.

They’ve built a new park(close to water and not fenced in) and a dog park (fenced in) recently, I know they could take on this project. I’ve started a petition for starters because I know it is better to have a village than only one person’s word. Reelfoot lake is such a beautiful place, but it would be even more beautiful if it were for everyone.

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