When raising a child with special needs, finding ways to help them develop in the same way as any other kid can be challenging at times. Depending on which special needs they have, you’ll need to tailor how you help them grow differently. However, there is one place that is the great equalizer for kids, and that is the playground. That’s why we will go in-depth on why playgrounds are important for children’s development and what you can do to adapt the experience to your child’s needs.
It Can Help Them Socialize
Many special needs disorders make socialization for kids who have them more difficult than usual. Autism, in particular, usually makes the child not want to socialize with other kids their age since they have trouble speaking with others and sharing their toys. Despite that, bringing them to a playground might help them with those things.
The playground is a free-for-all most of the time. While that may sound intimidating, it’s actually a good thing. That’s because kids at playgrounds tend to focus on what they want to do rather than what others are doing. Of course, this isn’t an innate rule that’s never broken, but it is generally fairly accurate. What this means for your kid is that they probably won’t have too many kids approach them, asking them questions or bothering them. They’ll be too busy doing their own thing.
In turn, this allows your child to do their own thing as well. If they’re doing their own thing at a populated playground, they will grow more accustomed to having others around them when they do it, which should help them when they’re older. If worse comes to worst, though, and other kids keep picking on your child, you can always bring them to the playground at an off-time. That way, they can take advantage of the other benefits these places have to offer.
It Will Aid Their Physical Abilities
The physicality needed to do everything at the playground is no joke. Monkey bars and swaying platforms don’t come naturally to most kids. That means over time, your child will aspire to tune their strength and fine motor skills to be able to accomplish the obstacle, and once they finally do, there will be a high level of accomplishment that they could never have achieved in your yard at home.
Just make sure that you check the playground to ensure that it’s safe for your child. If they’re too young or have difficulties doing certain things due to their needs, some of these obstacles might be too much for them. However, if you’re there to help them, you can still let them give it a try if they’re interested.
It Promotes Their Imagination
The final point on why playgrounds are important for children’s development is it helps them improve their imagination. The entire area could be a jungle to them, with the tallest section being Mount Everest. That’s obviously just a half-baked example, but your child will be able to imagine some things that they likely wouldn’t have come up with at home on a flat surface.