September 26, 2023 Uncategorised

Improving Yard Accessibility for Children with Intellectual Disabilities


By Charlene Roth

Making small changes in your yard can improve accessibility for children with intellectual disabilities. As a parent of a child with an intellectual or developmental disability, you want to make sure that your child is safe while playing outside. The great outdoors can feel like a scary, overwhelming source of trouble when your youngster has sensory sensitivities. This blog post, by Charlene Roth, offers tips and suggestions on how to create a backyard that is both safe and enjoyable for those with an intellectual disability.

Keep Your Child Safe With an Accessible Backyard

An accessible backyard is essential for children with intellectual or developmental disabilities. First, make sure that the backyard is free of any potential hazards, such as sharp objects, poisonous plants, and open water sources. Check for any potential escape routes and ensure that the backyard is enclosed with a fence or barrier to keep your child from wandering away.
Second, make sure that your child can access all areas of the backyard. If your child uses a wheelchair or another mobility device, ensure that there are ramped access points that are wide enough for them to pass through. Additionally, ensure that there are level surfaces throughout the backyard to prevent your child from tripping or falling.

A Kid-Friendly Backyard Can Boost Your Property Value

Creating a kid-friendly backyard not only keeps your child safe but can also increase your property’s value. Installing play equipment like swings, slides, or climbing frames can attract potential buyers when you decide to sell your home. Ensure that the play equipment is age-appropriate and safe for your child with an intellectual or developmental disability. It’s also essential to clean and maintain the equipment regularly to avoid any potential hazards or damage.

Choose an Area That’s Easy to Monitor

Selecting a backyard area that’s easy to monitor from inside the house is essential for the safety of your child with an intellectual or developmental disability. Consider placing a deck, patio, or seating area where you can supervise your child while they play. Also, install a security camera if necessary, or place windows that face the backyard to keep an eye out for safety problems.

Install Safety Features to Keep Kids Safe

Installing safety features like gates, fences, or locks on doors or gates will keep kids safe and contained within the backyard area. Consider installing a self-closing, self-latching gate to prevent your child from wandering off. Ensure that the fencing is sturdy, secure, and without any potential escape routes.

Provide Plenty of Sensory Activities

Children with intellectual or developmental disabilities often have sensory needs that must be addressed. Providing sensory activities like water play, blowing bubbles, sand play, or music activities can help keep your child entertained and safe. Additionally, consider providing sensory toys like legos or puzzles that engage your child’s senses and improve their motor skills.

Have Soft Material Where Children Can Play On

Children with intellectual or developmental disabilities often engage in rough play, which may lead to falls and injuries. To avoid potential injuries, consider placing soft materials like grass, mulch, or rubber mats where they play to provide cushioning if they fall. Ensure that the padding is installed correctly and is of good quality to prevent injury.

Designate Areas for Calm and Quiet

Designated areas that offer quiet and calmness can provide children with intellectual or developmental disabilities with a safe place to retreat when they become overwhelmed or agitated. Consider providing an area that’s shaded and has comfortable seating, reading materials, or other calming activities.

Improving accessibility for children with intellectual disabilities requires careful planning and thoughtful consideration. An accessible backyard will keep your child safe, provide sensory activities that engage their senses, and give them designated areas where they can relax and calm down. By implementing these tips and suggestions, you can ensure that your child will have a fun and enjoyable backyard experience while staying safe.


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