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Advancing play participation for all: The challenge of addressing play diversity and inclusion in community parks and playgrounds
Lynch, Helen; Moore, Alice; Edwards, Claire; Horgan, Linda
Introduction: Outdoor parks and playgrounds are important sites of social inclusion in many urban communities. However, these playspaces are often inaccessible and unusable for many children with disabilities. This paper presents findings from a case study of one urban municipality in Ireland. The study aimed to understand play participation in five local playgrounds by exploring the perspectives of play providers and families with diverse abilities, through the lens of universal design. Methods: Multiple qualitative methods were used, including playground audits, walk-and-talk observations, and semi-structured interviews. Four play providers, 12 children, and 10 adult users took part. Inductive analysis was conducted to understand the usability and accessibility of playgrounds from a universal design perspective. Findings: These playgrounds provided high play value for younger children, but low play value for older children and those with disabilities, due to lack of accessibility or usability. While local authorities aimed to provide inclusive playgrounds, they lacked knowledge on universal design for playspaces. Conclusion: Children with disabilities continue to experience exclusion in community playspaces, despite a commitment to inclusion in local authorities. Play providers need support to tailor principles of universal design to playground design. Occupational therapists are ideally situated to collaborate with local authorities on universal design for enhancing children's play participation in community settings.
Keyword(s): Universal Design; Accessibility; Usability; Play value; Occupational therapy
Publication Date:
Type: Journal article
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Language(s): English
Institution: University College Cork
Citation(s): Lynch, H., Moore, A., Edwards, C. and Horgan, L. (2019) 'Advancing play participation for all: The challenge of addressing play diversity and inclusion in community parks and playgrounds', British Journal of Occupational Therapy. doi: 10.1177/0308022619881936
Publisher(s): SAGE Publications
File Format(s): application/pdf
Related Link(s):
First Indexed: 2020-01-25 06:30:51 Last Updated: 2020-01-25 06:30:51