State’s first exclusive park for specially-abled children opens

Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot inaugurated Karnataka’s first exclusive park for specially-abled children at Bal Bhavan in Bengaluru on Saturday.

Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot inaugurated Karnataka’s first exclusive park for specially-abled children at Bal Bhavan in Bengaluru on Saturday. | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Wahima, mother of 12-year-old Jakir Abedin, had a smile on her face as she watched her child play. “Earlier, there was no such place where my boy could play. I used to take him to a general park where he used to fall down and get hurt, and none of the parks had any special activities or arrangements for specially-abled children. We are very happy that now he can play without getting hurt and not get bored with the same activities,” she said.

On Saturday, Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot inaugurated the State’s first disabled-friendly park in Jawaharlal Bal Bhavan (JBB), Cubbon Park, built for children with disabilities by Mindtree and Bal Bhavan Society.

Built at a cost of ₹3 crore under the guidance of health and child development experts, the park provides a safe, inclusive, and physiotherapeutic place where children with multiple forms of special abilities can play uninhibited by their mobility aids or the risk of accidents, officials said.

Designed in the shape of a turtle, the park consists of different zones for a wide range of physical, mental, therapeutic, and touch and feel activities. The park has a specially designed sand table for children on wheelchairs and a special swing. Tactile pathways make it easier for visually-challenged children to navigate their way around the park. To mitigate injuries from falls, all playing surfaces are made of a synthetic, non-toxic, and skid-proof rubber called EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer).

Christina Rachel, a class 6 child playing at the park, said: “Before, we had to play inside our homes or in our school. There was no place for us to go out and enjoy, as most of the parks were not suited for me to walk with my stretcher. Here, the pathways are comfortable.”

Mr. Gehlot said it is the social and moral imperative to develop inclusive and accessible playgrounds for differently-abled children. “Special children and their parents already struggle with numerous obstacles, biases, and misconceptions in their effort to lead full and capable lives. Instead of adding to their problems, parks must become a part of the solution by enabling children with disabilities to gain from free and unstructured play just like other children,” he said.

This park will provide them with an opportunity to feel happier, healthier, and more connected with one another and the world around them, thus developing critical cognitive, emotional, and social skills, he added.

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2022 10:49:42 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/states-first-exclusive-park-for-specially-abled-children-opens/article65565052.ece