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City of St. Louis Playground Audits

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  2. Presentation Overview • Overview of ADA Guidelines • Role of Playgrounds in Promoting Participation • Role of OT in Play Space Design • Project Description and Methods • Examples/Barriers/Safety Hazards • Examples/Solutions/Resources • Resource Handout • Discussion

  3. ADAAG- ADA Accessibility Guidelines • Guidelines indicate requirements for what play components need to be accessible and how to achieve access • Addresses only newly built or altered play areas • These guidelines are recommendations, not law • Were developed through a regulatory negotiation process • The guidelines were finalized in 2000

  4. Examples of Guidelines • At least one of each type of play component (rocking, spinning, swinging etc…) provided at ground level must be on an accessible route. • 50 % of elevated play components must be on an accessible route. • Ramps: • 12” maximum rise • 1:12 maximum slope • 36” minimum clear width • For more information on guidelines, visit

  5. The Importance of Play • Create and explore the environment • Competencies, confidence, and resiliency • Play is a basic right of all children • Play according to American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) American Academy of Pediactric. (n.d.) New AAP report stresses play for healthy development. American Academy of Pediactrics News Room. Retrieved April 19, 2011 from Ginsburg, K.R. (2007). American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Communications; American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health. The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bonds. Pediatrics. Jan;119(1):182-91. PubMed PMID: 17200287. Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1989). Convention on the Rights of the Child. General Assembly Resolution 44/25 of 20th November 1989.

  6. Benefits of play • For children: • Work in groups, share, negotiate and solve conflicts, self-advocacy • Creativity • Dexterity and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. • Play is important to healthy brain development. • …And for their parents: • Effective communication • Role playing Ginsburg, K.R. (2007). American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Communications; American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health. The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bonds. Pediatrics. Jan;119(1):182-91. PubMed PMID: 17200287.

  7. Play in the academic environment • Social and emotional developmental skills cognitive skills • Academic performance • Multiply studies have found that elementary school students were more attentive to classroom tasks AFTER recess than before. • School-readiness and adjustment Ginsburg, K.R. (2007). American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Communications; American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health. The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bonds. Pediatrics. Jan;119(1):182-91. PubMed PMID: 17200287. Pellegrini, A. D. & Bohn, C. M. (2005). The Role of Recess in Children's Cognitive Performance and School Adjustment. Educational Researcher34(1): 13-19.

  8. Importance of Play for Typically Developing • Physical education and Physical activity • Literacy development • Pretend play • Resolve understand learning • Society, interaction with physical environment reflection. Ridgers, N. D., Stratton, G. & Fairclough, S. J. (2006). Physical activity levels of children during school playtime. Sports Med 36(4), 359-371 Piaget, J. (1964). Cognitive development in children: Piaget, development and learning. Journal of Research in Science Education,3, 176-186. Emfinger, K. (2009). Numerical conceptions reflected during multiage child-initiated pretend play. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 36(4), 326-334.

  9. Articles on Play and Disability • Accessible accommodations in the outside space • Social spatial exclusion • Minimum requirements (Western Nations) • Inclusive communities Yantzi, N. M. , Young, N. L. & Mckeever, P.(2010) The suitability of school playgrounds for physically disabled children. Children's Geographies, 8: 1, 65 —78.

  10. Articles on Play and Disability • Raise awareness, and importance of leisure • Nature’s training for life • Community accessibility and social stigma • Encourage activity/advocacy • Scott, R., (2010). The Health benefits of play and physical activity for disabled children and young people. KIDS, briefing paper. 1-16

  11. Role of OT on Play Space Design • OTs can advocate to Park’s Departments and City Governments on Accessible Playgrounds for children with different disabilities and impairments. • Letters • Sitting on boards • Advocacy • OTs can provide resources and intervention strategies for parental use. • Type of movement • Duration of appropriate play • Sensory regulation • OTs can provide playground design that help to improve: • Social skills • Gross motor skills • Universal design

  12. The Project

  13. Project Description • The city of St. Louis provided a list of playgrounds for review of accessibility of the equipment • Amberg Park • Bellerive Park • Cherokee Park • Christy Park • Fox Park • Hickey Park • Hyde Park • McDonald Park • O’Fallon Park • Strodtman Park • Sublette Park • Tandy Park • Tiffany Park • Walnut Park

  14. Accessible Playgrounds in St. Louis Forest Park Tilles Park

  15. Project Description • Groups of 2-3 OT students performed assessments on 2 playgrounds using the Playground Audit Form • Materials Needed: • Playground Audit Form • Tape Measurer • Slope Measurer • Documents including definitions, city codes and information on specific heights and designs.

  16. Playground Audit Form

  17. Methods • Assessed playground equipment using Playground Audit Form and Materials • Pictures were taken of environment and play components • Typed a final draft of the Audit and included: • Positives, Limitations and Recommendations • Audits were compiled together • Presented Audits to the City of St. Louis on 4/21/11

  18. Recommendations for Playground Audit Form • Add a section denoting playground surface • i.e. recycled rubber, woodchips, sand, pebbles, etc. • Play component descriptions provided on assessment • i.e. Are swing sets considered elevated play components? • Add a quantitative evaluation component that indicates a score that can be used for comparison • Include a section for potential playground hazards • Expanding assessment to evaluate for disabilities other than wheelchair accessibility • i.e. contrast sensitivity, visual perception impairments, etc.

  19. Accessible Features Found • Accessibility from street • Transfer platforms • Rubber ground surface • Ramp entry to elevated components • Hand rails • Clear ground space surrounding each play component

  20. More Photos of Accessible Features Ramp entry to elevated component Transfer platform

  21. Barriers Found • Lack of accessible route onto elevated play components • Lack of curb cut/accessible entrance from street • Rock, pebble, woodchip surface • Lack of ground level play components • Inaccessible route throughout elevated play components • Lack of transfer platform • Narrow platforms and ramps • Inaccessible Swings • Lack of benches

  22. Barrier Photos Narrow platform/step Pebble surface

  23. Safety Hazards Found Missing bolts on play components Broken slides Holes in ground

  24. Summary of Recommendations Maintenance or Safety Hazard Accessible Route into and Around the Playground • Replace missing bolts, repair broken slides, fill holes etc. • Call for prices. • Make route into playground accessible, adding ramps, or additional paved ground cover where needed. • Need to call for estimate.

  25. Summary of Recommendations Curb Cuts or Curb Ramps Accessible and Safe Ground Cover • The curb cut ramp, provides instant access at curbs. This ramp can be installed in less than 30 minutes at any curb. • Made from 100% recycled rubber, poured in place ground covers are designed exclusively to reduce the risk of serious injury associated with falls from playground equipment. • $2-12/sq.ft. (prices may vary on material used)

  26. Summary of Recommendations Ground Level Play Components Accessible Route onto Elevated Play Components • Variety of accessible play components types at the ground level, including tables, panels, diggers, rockers, etc. • $300-1,500 • Ramps, or ground level entrance to elevated equipment to allow a child in a wheelchair to access all aspects of the playground. • $550-1,500

  27. Summary of Recommendations Transfer Step/Platform Wider Elevated Platforms and Ramps • 4’ x 4’ Transition Platform w/ step height of 16”. Allows child to transfer from wheelchair onto elevated play structure. • Call for pricing. • Ramps wide enough for wheelchairs to pass, and platforms every 60” that allow wheelchairs enough maneuvering room to turn around. • Call for pricing.

  28. Summary of Recommendations Swing Set Accessible Swings • Additional swinging component will be accessible to children of all abilities, and provide unique vestibular input necessary for development. • $400-1,500 • Accessible swings include adaptive swing seats, and wheelchair swing plat forms with rope for propulsion. • $200-600

  29. Summary of Recommendations Benches Separate Play Areas for Preschool and Grade School Kids • Benches allow parents and other caregivers a place to sit and rest while still being close by to supervise their children playing. • $150-600 • Play activities and structures vary by age and physical abilities. Providing separate areas will allow children of all development areas to play safely on appropriate equipment for their abilities. • $3,000-20,000

  30. Funding Sources • Land and Water Conservation Fund • Provides grants to states and local gov. for development of public outdoor recreation areas • • Community Development Block Grant Program • Provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs • • While there are some funds available to update the city’s parks, the recommendations list is extensive and can be expensive. • Finding alternative funding sources is critical to the upkeep and modifications to bring the parks to ADA standards. • The following are just two examples of places to start looking for additional resources.

  31. Resource Handout

  32. Audit Presentation to City of St. Louis MARY AND CAITLIN

  33. Any Questions??