Perhaps few groups of children have struggled with inclusion as much as people with sensory issues, and of course, parents who care for them. So many community activities provide an amount of stimulation that people with sensory disorders find overwhelming, uncomfortable, or even painful. The good news is that the Houston Metro Area has begun to provide some sensory-friendly opportunities for community and family fun.
Children are naturally inquisitive, and they are sure to notice differences between themselves and other people they meet. When a child comes into contact with someone who has a significant difference from them, such as a disability or different skin color, it is normal for the child to have questions. However, if you hope to raise responsible, caring adults, you need to teach your child to be kind, respectful and welcoming to all people, regardless of their differences. Below are some tips to help you teach your child how to be inclusive.
April is World Autism Month. Now is the best time to increase awareness of this condition that affects so many children. The Centers for Disease Control reports that one in every 59 children is diagnosed with some form of autism. Autism can affect children from all ethnic and socioeconomic groups, but males are four times more likely to be diagnosed than females. Awareness of the prevalence of autism is the first step toward helping children and their families who suffer from this issue. One place that everyone can help kids with autism is on the playground.
In the words of Charlie Chaplin, "A day without laughter is a day wasted." Fortunately for children and the adults who take care of them, laughter is one of the primary sounds heard on a well-designed playground. Thanks to the help of Computer-Aided Design (CAD), playgrounds can now be more readily designed to meet the specific needs of schools, parks and recreation areas.
Play has always been an innate part of the childhood experience. Long before there were playgrounds of any kind, children were creating their own using little more than their imaginations. Play is important for the cultivation of motor skills as well as physical strength and stamina. Children also learn social skills from playing together in groups. Country children had it best in this respect — a crooked stick became a lightning-fast steed, while a small stream became a vast and mysterious ocean. Play occurs in all cultures and is an essential part of healthy childhood development, even though playgrounds themselves are a relatively recent addition. The first public playground was built in San Francisco in the year 1887, and playgrounds as we know them gradually came into existence as cities grew larger and outdoor play in the streets and in vacant lots became increasingly dangerous. However, it took over a century for the idea of inclusive playgrounds to even begin to make a dent in America's cultural landscape.