When designing a playground to include children with autism, you must understand that there is a spectrum of severity and every child is different. Some children have more moderate types of autism, while others will have more severe symptoms. Findings in a 2012 study verify what several parents’ educational experts already know; it’s very common for young children with autism to wander, leaving families worried and stressed. Children with autism are likelier to wander off out of curiosity, and unfortunately, this can be a dangerous situation for a family and the child to be in.
If you’re looking for an outdoor playground solution that is accommodating and meets the unique needs of children with autism, SPI is a leader in the playground component industry. Safety, of course, is always a top priority with playground equipment, and we place a large emphasis on ensuring safety with every component of equipment designed.
Knowing the common characteristics associated with children that have autism, we wanted to share some tips in relation to ensuring you’re using an outdoor playground that is safe and fun.
- Go to an outdoor playground that has a completely enclosed fence. It’s best to only have one way in and one way out. If able, choose an outdoor playground that has a closed gate and seating close by.
- Look for playgrounds that are built with a wide path around the playground equipment. This will help inform a child with autism on the specific dynamics of the playground and do so at a secure distance. In many cases, the perimeter path is sought out by children with autism because it provides space and relief from all the activity.
- Look for outdoor playgrounds that you know your child will enjoy participating in, such as those that offer sand play, water play, musical play with instruments, and imaginative play. Of course, it’s also crucial that the playground has adequate space for running and burning energy.
- Locate an outdoor playground that also has some cozy areas that your child can take some time to rest in.
- Playgrounds that incorporate lots of movement are ideal for children such as anything that spins sways, rocks, or jumps.
- Play areas that are broken up into pods are extremely helpful. Look for “see through” equipment, like rope climbers that provide visibility anywhere from the playground. Stay away from playgrounds that have a large module structure in the center because this can easily obstruct your views.
- Outdoor Playgrounds that incorporate nature play, as well as attractive landscaping, can make a child with autism feel at ease, comfortable and relaxed.
- Pinpoint play areas that encourage social interaction. See-saws are effective at teaching all children how to share and cooperate with one another.
SPI products are designed with the utmost thought and care to create spectacular playground components and enhance your playground system. Safety standards around the world are observed, understood and applied in the creation of each and every SPI product. Get in touch with us for more information surrounding our outdoor playground solutions.