‘Everyone is accepted’: Inclusive playground opens in Adelaide

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(ABC News)
He was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of a 40-metre bike track in the playground.”I wanted my own little off-road little racetrack so I put forward an idea to Marion [City Council] and they surprised me this morning, the track has been put in and it’s amazing,” Mr Kenihan said.Six-year-old Hudson was one of many children enjoying the playground during the official opening on Friday morning.His mother, Melissa Styles, said she was thrilled to see her son use the play areas.”He loves it, he’s been down the slide and he’s climbed up to the top of the tower,” she said.”I’ll probably come here with his older brother as well because there’s enough here that they can both play, whereas when we normally go to playgrounds there’s not much for Hudson.” The opening of an Adelaide playground specifically tailored for children with disabilities is being hailed as a milestone for social inclusion. Key points:The Park Holme playground has equipment designed for children with special needsAdvocates say it will allow children of all abilities to play alongside each otherThe $974,000 project was funded by the SA Government, Marion City Council and donations
The $974,000 facility at Park Holme in the city’s south-west has been custom-designed to allow children with special needs to play equally alongside others.The Hendrie Street inclusive playground features specialist equipment and sensory areas for children with mobility needs, vision and hearing impairments and autism, and has now officially opened after more than two years in the pipeline.”There’s not a lot for children in wheelchairs so it’s a wonderful opportunity for our kids … to explore and discover the world around them,” Cathy Roche-Wells, principal of the nearby Kilparrin school for children with disabilities and sensory impairment, said.The project was funded by the State Government, the Marion City Council and a series of donations.It was developed in partnership with the Touched by Olivia Foundation, which is creating inclusive playgrounds around Australia known as Livvi’s Place in memory of eight-month old Olivia Perkins, who died in 2006 from a rare illness.This is the first Livvi’s Place playground in South Australia.The foundation’s executive officer Bec Ho said the Park Holme playground was a great example of inclusive play areas.”This is a place for everyone, it’s a place where everyone is accepted, invited, included,” Ms Ho said.”It should just be the way that we do things everywhere in our society, so this is just a beautiful example of when communities, government, corporations come together and create something really amazing.”‘Gets me quite choked up’Foundation ambassador Quentin Kenihan said it was heart-warming to see children of all abilities playing alongside each other.”When I was growing up there was nothing like this for me and my brothers and sister so I didn’t get the chance to play with them,” he said.”It actually gets me quite choked up to see families, brothers, sisters, friends all playing together.”

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Six-year-old Hudson Styles has already made use of the new facilities.
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Updated

August 10, 2018 18:31:41

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The inclusive playground at Park Holme is the first of its kind in SA. (ABC News: Candice Prosser)

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