Last week we went to a new playground (well, new to us) called Imagination Station. We were supposed to meet a bunch of friends on Wednesday, but, of course, it rained. Since the kids, well my 4 year old, were so disappointed, I enlisted Grandma and Grandpa to help me take them on Thursday.
This playground, located in Oconomowoc, was amazing! It was all enclosed, with one entry/exit for safety purposes. It had a squishy surface surrounding all the play equipment, and there were things for all three of my kids, not just the oldest. There were colorful castles, tons of bridges to climb, small and big slides, and plenty of benches for the adults. Although, who are we kidding. I never even had a chance to fantasize about sitting down.
The best part about this playground is that it is “Universally Accessible,” as stated on their website. What does this mean? It means there are things for everyone to do. No matter what your special needs, there is something to have fun with. There were large swings with supportive backs and seat belts, musical and sensory toys to play with, and plenty of wide ramps.
Many people and places don’t think about others that use wheelchairs or need assistance. I think about it all the time. My 25 week preemies could have had a whole host of issues, and I see other preemies struggle every day. Prematurity can lead to physical disabilities, as well as mental disabilities. So far we have been lucky, but we still don’t know what the future holds. Physically, we had therapy throughout their first year to help work their underdeveloped muscles. The twins are doing great now, but for others, therapy is not enough. There are trainers, walkers, and braces. Many preemies also have issues with their senses. Their nerves didn’t fully get to form in the womb, so touch and texture can be hard. There are feeding tubes and speech therapies. Because we came so close to many “what ifs,” I look at things a lot differently now.
While it’s not the same thing as having a wheelchair, I get sad and frustrated when I can’t fit my double stroller through an aisle in the store or get through the door without opening both sides. I am very, very lucky that my children don’t have to be in a stroller for the rest of their lives, but what about the children that do? For me, it is just a minor inconvenience now, but for others it a lifetime of challenges. Let’s hope others take a look at places like Imagination Station and make some changes to include everyone.