Thank Goodness for PLAYGROUNDS!

Rebecca Toal by Rebecca Toal Additional Needs

Rebecca Toal

Rebecca Toal

Blessed, busy mum to four beautiful girls, the youngest with complex special needs due to extreme prematurity. We are always looking for ways to ma...

Playgrounds are a staple of childhood. They are a right-of-passage of sorts.

I for one have spent many mornings, afternoons and evenings at playgrounds when my kids were growing up. Free activity, gross motor development, good for your lungs and soul being outdoors.

But boy how I’ve come to appreciate playgrounds even more since Brielle came along.

Who knew that the act of swinging could give much essential vestibular movement?

Swinging on all sorts of therapy and platform swings was a big part of her early days Occupational Therapy sessions.

She loves swinging so much that we even have a bar above her door frame with hooks for various swings (from Rainy Day Indoor Playground).

Nothing beats a walk to the playground and going on the swings in Brielle’s book! Especially if the weather is nice! We live near the sea so we have the added bonus of salty sea-air to clear the airways and lungs. 

Not only was we found swinging to be amazing for sensory imput and the vestibular movement, but we’ve found it a great tool to work on her communication (mainly signing).

As she wants it to happen, she’ll often request ‘swing’. Or ‘more please’. Or maybe she wants one of her sisters or me to go on the bucket swing with her so she’ll sign our name.

Honestly, we could not continue our home program of physio and OT if we did not go to playgrounds.

She also enjoys balancing on the boat, climbing steps and walked the bridge holding the bars (all with a hand on her back as she can’t walk due to her cerebral palsy). And she loves the slide!

It makes my heart so glad to see her outdoors and enjoying ‘normal’ childhood activities too.

It’s a very social thing too, and sometimes she picks up a friend at the playground, who is usually very sweet and helpful, and asking me all about what she can or cannot do.

I’ve been known to shed a tear or two quietly when I see some of the care and consideration afforded to Brielle from complete strangers.

She’s just another 8 year old girl who loves to swing - a very cute one though with obvious disabilities. She really does love playgrounds and we couldn’t be without them!


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