Our four year old, Asher, is most himself when on the playground. He loves to jump, swing, slide and run. He is a daredevil and shows no fear when climbing on a play structure. Asher has autism. He has speech and language delays and does not fully understand the dangers of any environment. He also elopes, which means that he sometimes runs away from the people responsible for keeping him safe. Last summer, Asher got away from me at a local park. I had turned to check on his older brother and looked back to find him running toward the street. Despite me chasing him and screaming for him to stop or wait, Asher made it into a busy street before I was able to catch up with him. Fortunately, he wasn’t injured. I was terrified and devastated that, despite my best efforts, I was not able to keep my vulnerable child safe.
Every child deserves to be a part of his or her community. Every child deserves to be safe. For my family, a fence around a playground is a game changer. A fence would allow me to keep watch over both of my children, while knowing they are both safely inside a designated area.
The same day that my son ran into a busy street, I got a phone call asking me if I wanted to help bring an inclusive playground to Perrysburg. I couldn’t jump onboard fast enough! The current layout and design of our playgrounds can be challenging for parents and limiting for our kids. We can do better!