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Spring Forward - To The Park

Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist) by Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist)

Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist)

Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist)

I'm a pediatric physical therapist and also the sibling of an adult with special needs.

Spring Forward - To The Park

The playground is a natural environment for kids of all ages. It’s a place where kids can congregate in open spaces, and where there’s something for everyone. Here’s another instance where planning ahead, problem solving, and creativity comes in handy for parents of children with additional needs. The possibilities are endless. Some children swing, climb, walk, kick a ball, and slide. While others move about, explore and experience this setting in a different way. Although there are some physical obstacles to conquer, all the above are activities that children of all abilities can enjoy. And when you see the smile on their face, you will be so glad that you made the effort!

The playground is a world for exploring

For children who are ambulators, the playground offers unlevel surfaces such as mulch, grass and/or tire tread to walk on. Walking on this type of surface helps develop balance. If a child is not yet an ambulator, there are many large pieces of equipment that your child can hold onto, lean on, or climb on. This can also help develop strength and balance. If your child can grab something, they can try to move around on their own, navigate around obstacles, and explore their environment. Then you can assist as needed.

For children who are not ambulators, there are numerous spots in the playground that can provide support for them in a supported sitting position. The grass is a front row seat to the action around them. Sitting in the grass is not a static activity, it involves gazing, tracking, head rotation, trunk rotation, arm movements, and often smiling. From a sitting position in the grass your child will have easy access to safely move around and experiment with body movements. The barrel swings and rocking toys can be modified with blankets for extra trunk support, and gliding movements in any direction is just plain and simple fun!

Balls, bubbles, and blankets

Balls, bubbles, and blankets are a welcomed pastime for all children. The playground is a place where children gather and where they can learn from one another. Where they can move around using a carriage, a walker, a scooter, a bike, or a wheelchair. Regardless of the activity, being out and about is another opportunity for a child to be around their peers. It’s a place where kids can learn how to share, learn acceptance, develop empathy and social skills.

Each day at the park is a new experience, because the people, the activity and the environment is constantly changing. So, pack up some snacks, some drinks, and some toys, SPRING into a new experience with your child, and take them to the park or playground!!


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