I know all too well what a sensitive and bittersweet subject playgrounds are for those who live within the walls of the special needs world. Thankfully, as Oia has grown and developed physically, I've been able to rid my heart of most of those playground anxieties and today I'm in a much better place where slides, play structures, and bounding children are concerned. It wasn't even until this summer that Rob or I began contemplating the purchase of our own play structure suitable for Oia, simply because navigating outdoors was still quite a challenge and sometimes a hazard. We shopped around, both locally and online, for the most suitable and sturdy setup we could find.
I had my vision for what I thought Oia would like and found one that was close to perfect. With a few modifications, we made it just right. We requested handrails to be added to both sides of the stairs and ladder. As is, the structure was only provided with a rail on one side. The extra railing is key for safety of course, but it's great for encouraging the use of two hands as well. The ladder needed to have flat, wide steps instead of rungs. Rounded rungs are an accident waiting to happen for a girl who has been known to raise to her toes when walking or stepping. I'm not crazy about the rock wall that the structure came with but I chalk it up to good therapy. One day, she'll be able to conquer it, I'm sure. But overall, this girl deserves a playset. She's worked mighty long and hard to be able to navigate one (although she still requires a spotter when climbing up and down steps).
And so it begins... clearing and preparing the site
Building up the enclosure
Filling the enclosure with a whole lotta' mulch (thank goodness Rob had some extra help)
And the final product
Oia isn't able to safely hold herself and use a sling swing yet (the swing in the middle) but she can sit safely in the basket glider (left) or the toddler swing (right)
Backside of playset; steps, ladder and rock wall
Oia and buddy Sawyer check out the view from the clubhouse
Oh, just imagine the hours of fun that will ensue with Oia's new playset!