'Long-held and extensively supported truisms in human development are that no two individuals are the same in any developmental dimension, and that each individual is unique, having different needs and abilities. As we reconsider current trends in children's play and playgrounds, we must direct time and energy to ensuring that children of all ages have opportunities to play and learn together...' (Frost, Brown, Sutterby, & Thornton, 2004). According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2005), 20 million American families are affected by disability. Two out of every seven families have at least one family member with a disability.
More than 17 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the first generation of children with disabilities to experience full access to public accommodations and services is reaching adulthood. This generation has a greater expectation than its elders. They have an expectation that they will be able to access public spaces with their family members and friends as a fact rather than an exception to the rule. Our role as recreation providers and advocates for children's play is to ensure that each public play space is not only accessible, but welcoming and inclusive of the many children and adult caregivers that will use it. If we use a human-centered approach at the onset of the planning process and encompass the Principles of Universal Design, the result is likely just that, a playground that is welcoming, inclusive, and FUN for everyone!