The Americans with Disabilities Act and the "universally accessible" playground

Q - I thought that according to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), all public places must be accessible?  How is it that playgrounds are not accessible already?

A - This is true, and most if not all playgrounds in Colorado Springs meet the ADA requirements.  However, the requirements specify that the structure provide an area to transfer out of a wheelchair onto the play surface.  This means a child must leave their wheelchair behind.  According to statistics, fewer than 10% of children who have disabilities can use a typical “transfer system” to get from a wheelchair to playground equipment (Source - Owens, D.E., 2000.  “Level Playing Fields.”  The Orlando Sentinel, Mar.14, p. E6).  Our hope is that the universally accessible playground will meet the full spirit of the law so that all children can have full access to play without having to leave their equipment and assistive devices behind.

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Our Mission, Vision and Core Values

Vision Statement

To create opportunities that eliminate boundaries to spontaneous play and no child is forced to “leave their legs behind.”

Mission Statement

To create a Universally-Accessible Playground in the Pikes Peak Region where children play and differences disappear.

Core Values

We Believe:

  • Colorado Springs has the opportunity to be a national leader for social change that embraces those with disabilities.
  • That every child, regardless of ability, has the right to spontaneous play.
  • There is an opportunity to enhance socialization between disabled and able-bodied children.
  • All children should be able to share common development experiences.