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Play for Specially Abled Kids

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

Every kid is special;

Every kid’s needs are special.

Determining them is the first task that a designer has at hands. Our team decided that going to the site for first hand user experience was better than any social media or internet research. But in a corona hit world, this became a plan for the future, so we started the ‘good deed at home!

I asked my niece, what she would like the best for her. Not only did she tell me what she wanted, she even told me what her little sister would like to play with.

Kids always tend to take their entire ‘clan’ on a bandwagon. We, as designers must take into consideration every user that might happen to come across our design and assure that they make the best use of it.

I am talking about designing play spaces for specially abled kids.

A very major type of play addressing the same concern is ‘Sensory Play’. Sensory Play stimulates main senses (Touch, Hearing, Visions, Smell, and Taste) and two other senses Vestibule (Sense of balance) and Pro-perceptive (Sense of where each body part is in relation to the rest of the body). Special needs are not

Photograph: CCA Family day care only to be catered to differently but also equally. If a kid is not able to experience an obstacle course, she needs to be provided with a similar motor experience (be it vibrations, or tactile) for the physical development and gross motor skills. Play that might over stimulate senses and cause discomfort in any manner (e.g. flashlights, use of stones etc.) should not be encouraged. When ‘The Adda Experiment’ designs its play spaces, we end up giving tactile and sensory play a major chunk of our zoning. It becomes a part of the educational aspect of our designs. Let me explain, how.

Sensory play can enhance socio-emotional development with the help of play elements like sketching on tiles or wooden pieces (being used as sketch boards), using revolving features for mathematical basic equations or simply tic-tac-toe etc. Such activities enable a user (in this case, the kids) to interact with each other, share, learn to cooperate, maybe even fight but that is alright, a little bruise on the arm and a scratch on the Photograph: The Belgrave Playground, face is what childhood is all about.

The Children's Playground Company Ltd.

There is sensory play which makes use of objects to make sound, or should I say noise. But ’bachpan ke suhane din’ is when the noise of banging utensils is the perfect scale for you to win the Grammy. I feel that this gesture imbibes creativity leading to the development of communication skills. Now communication is not just talking. Finding ways to present your ideas the best way, making the best out of the facilities available to you is what communication is all about.

These are some very basic ideas and inputs that we have thought are worthy of discussing with our readers. If you happen to have any such ideas, do share with us. Feel free to contact us in case of queries or any further opinions on designing for specially abled.

Photograph: The Junk Orchestra

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