The Children's PlayGarden in Seattle describes itself as a "welcoming place where children with special needs can play along side their typically developing siblings and friends." But even though no child had ever received significant injuries during its 10-year history, the playground in 2014 was declared "hazardous by the city's Parks Department and ordered it to be destroyed. Among the "extreme dangers": a four-foot rope ladder, a tire swing, and a "nest" made of rope and bike tires.
As Liz Bullard, who helped design the space, wrote in a blog post: "These simple play features may seem ordinary, but…here children with cerebral palsy, autism and developmental delays are encouraged and assisted as needed to climb and swing alongside their typically developing peers. The joy is palpable."
Local parents of special needs children are upset. One mom called the decision a "travesty," lamenting the loss of the area's only "healthy play space for special needs kids where they aren't judged by their lesser abilities."
Elsewhere in Washington state, a school district recently decided to phase out swings, calling them the "most unsafe" equipment in the schoolyard.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "No Play For You".