A Playground for Everyone: Orange County to Host Workshops to Create Future Inclusive Playgrounds
Orange County will host a series of workshops designed to provide parents with an opportunity to contribute feedback on how to make parks and playgrounds more sensory friendly for children. In order for a playground to be sensory-friendly, it needs to take into account the environmental factors that can contribute to a sensory overload, especially for children with autism.
“We sometimes get inquiries and requests from the public regarding accessible or inclusive parks,” explained Regina Ramos, project manager, planning and development, Orange County Parks and Recreation Division. “It benefits everyone if we create an avenue for our park users to provide input, ask questions and have an in-person discussion about the County’s existing and future playgrounds.”
The goal of the workshops is to hear from current and future playground users and incorporate feedback in the play area design, while staying within the approved budget. It is important that parents are directly involved in the process.
“Parents know the day-to-day needs and wants of their children best and can help guide how to best maximize play for their children in our parks,” added Ramos.
Orange County is currently in the planning stages of the workshops, and hope to hold the first open house in February or March of 2020.
Inclusive or sensory-friendly playgrounds stress the importance of inclusion in everyday activities, no matter a child’s ability level. They also stress compassion, as well as educate and bring families and people together. This is something the County wants to embrace and provide for its residents.
“Based on the communication we’ve been receiving, we’re hearing that inclusive play is a priority for our park users,” said Ramos. “That makes it a priority for us.”
For more information or to be added to the outreach list for workshops, contact Orange County Parks and Recreation at 407-836-6200.