Disability is a natural part of the human experience that in no way diminishes a child's right to fully participate in all aspects of childhood, including play. Disability is often mistakenly understood as a child's inability to experience the play environment because of limitations caused by their disability. Their disability isn't standing in the way of this. The fault lies with the environments that have not been properly designed to provide recreation to a wider context of users.
The challenge for many who create public recreation spaces is that designing effectively to include a diverse assembly of people in play means doing things differently. Positive action is required to involve the right people in planning and execution; creativity and innovation are needed to ensure the space is universally designed and developmentally appropriate to the greatest extent possible, and most importantly, expertise is compulsory to ensure that the direction, design, and execution result in the desired outcomes.
Successful groups working to achieve greater diversity and increase inclusion understand that credible, validated, and scholarly research is required to identify barriers, create evidence-based recommendations, promote intentional approaches to design and measuring outcomes, and provide clear and measurable guidelines to promote equal opportunities. Implementation of effective practical measures that go beyond minimum accessibility to create inclusive, universally designed play spaces benefit the whole child, the whole environment, and the whole community.
Fundamentally, inclusively designed play environments are a statement about a community's social values and every child's right to play. Inclusively designed playgrounds are a microcosm of a community itself, and can contribute to greater awareness, break down barriers, and foster friendships. Just like a playground, a supportive community facilities participation in everyday activities and relationships, provides opportunities for self-determination, and allows individuals to economic and health disparities, isolation, social exclusion, and marginalization.