Why I’m campaigning for a new roundabout for my local park?
Five years ago I wouldn’t have given the roundabout in the play park a second thought. My daughter was developing with blink of an eye speed. I knew she’d master all the equipment in no time at all and I was right at 8 years old she now confidently climbs and uses everything. However I have now developed very strong opinions about play equipment.
So what changed? The arrival of my son has made all the difference. It was love at first sight and I was so happy that my family was complete, so perfectly. Six months in and that notion was shattered during the diagnosis stage. After an MRI scan at 8 months we confirmed to family and friends that his brain was damaged.
We now know that he has quadriplegic cerebral palsy. We also know that he is a bright, cheeky and sociable little boy who dictates our world even although he doesn’t yet communicate with words.
Bringing the world to him
Very early on an occupational therapist told me since he can’t move himself to experience the world around him, we need to bring it to him. I’ve taken that brief to heart and ever since I’ve made sure that he experiences everything he possibly can.
Anything and everything a little boy of his age would experience I try to make happen for him.
Often that’s easier said than done. It’s easy to bring him things so that he can feel them.
He hates the feel of hair (he has a special facial expression to show his disgust). Shaving foam makes him gag and only now he is beginning to tolerate the sand table at nursery.
He loves the tiniest bits of string; any sort of water play and anything that he can get his hand firmly round i.e. a stick!
Play parks and soft play bring the most difficulty. He can’t run off on his own to explore and climb. He’s totally dependent on me. He’s getting bigger and bigger and so the challenge increases. I want him to experience them and be a part of it all but I also have to protect my back and his dignity.
I’m always on the lookout for accessible play equipment. What works? What doesn’t work? How can I bring the experience to him? I have found and had lots of ideas about what would work for the play park but am yet to find suitable alternatives to soft play.
Stand back and watch
In our local park apart from the baby swing that I can adapt for him there’s little else he can experience. It makes me really sad that he can’t experience what all the other children are experiencing. He spends a great deal of time watching his sister and their friends enjoying themselves. I can’t stand by and accept that’s he’s not going to experience the play park so I’ve started a local campaign to get more accessible play equipment installed.
After considerable research the accessible roundabout is the one piece of play equipment that I’ve found where I can roll him on and let the kids take over. He’s right in the middle of the action. He’s enjoying it. His sister and friends are enjoying it. Anyone whether physically able or not can feel the sensation of spinning. And whether or not that’s a positive feeling it’s all about experiencing the world around us and all children deserve experience.
I am mum to 3-year-old Quinns. A sociable, thrill seeker of a boy with the most amazing smile. He loves to play with his friends and most importantly his 8-year-old Big Sister. I write Quinns, trains and cerebral palsy in an effort to raise awareness of what life is like for us as a family. I have recently started a campaign to raise money to make our local play park more accessible