Newark is taking care of kids! One park for children with Autism opened up last week and another park for special needs children is on the way!
Rob and Elizabeth Scheinberg have a daughter with Autism. Two years ago they found out there were no playgrounds for children on the Autism spectrum. As the Newark Post wrote today, the parents contacted the county and after two years, their dream became a reality: Delaware’s first playground designed exclusively for children with Autism. Located at Glasgow Park, the park has many features that help children with Autism in what are otherwise sensory unfriendly environments:
Every piece of the park has meaning, from the large mirrored sphere at the entrance to the music area with chimes, xylophone, drums and interactive sound boards.
Elizabeth Scheinberg said children with autism love mirrors because they are visually and sensory stimulating, and playing music encourages kids to work with their hands and learn how to grasp. She said they also like circles and circular movements, so the never-ending paths that meander throughout the park and around the perimeter really appeal to them.
“The lines in this park don’t end,” she said.
The paths are made of squishy artificial turf, which helps children learn to maintain balance, as do the stand-up spinners, hammocks and basket swings throughout the playground.
Elizabeth Scheinberg previously served on the Board of Education in the Christina School District. She is well-known advocate for all students with disabilities in Delaware. I did reach out to Elizabeth to get permission to post this story to which she gladly said yes. She did want to add that the gates in the playground are not designed to keep people out but to keep the kids in. Many children with Autism can be what is known as “runners”. I would highly recommend to all parents that even though all are welcome, to please close the gate to the playground when you enter. And a big thank you to the Scheinbergs for having a vision for something really good and seeing it become something even better.
Another inclusive playground for special needs children in Newark is under development. Preston’s Playground
will open at The Reservoir. They are still looking for donations, so if you have the means, please consider donating
for this excellent cause! They are shy of their goal for this so every bit helps!
I think it is really awesome folks are getting together and making awareness around having playing areas for kids with disabilities. Every child wants to feel like they are part of something. But for many of these kids, the existing structures are not conducive to their needs or abilities.