A playground is one of the best places to let your child with autism explore the world. When your child is provided with age-appropriate play equipment, they can satisfy their sensory needs while enjoying important opportunities to practice their socialization skills. As with all children coming to the playground, there are a few safety concerns that you might need to consider before your trip. Following these tips will keep your child safe and help them to enjoy their new experience.
Look for Enclosed Playground Areas
You and your family are the best advocates for what is safest for your child, and the playground can be a place where a good safety plan is enacted and practiced. Playgrounds with custom entrance gates and fencing are the ideal place to help your child see visual reminders of their boundaries. You can increase safety for your child even more by making sure to include identification and contact information somewhere on their body or clothing. Many parents use phone number stickers or special ID bracelets for extra security at the playground.
Seek Play Areas with Exciting Points of Interest
Sensory play helps engage the five senses, giving children a fascinating playground experience. Look for playgrounds with exciting features that include things that you know will keep your kid’s interest. Children love freestanding spinners and other pieces of inclusive playground equipment that satisfy their curiosity and need for sensory input.
Check for Potential Hazards
Choking may also be a concern when at the playground. While you may be able to limit access to small objects at home, this will be harder when out and playing with friends. The buddy system is a good way to ensure your child has an enjoyable experience at the playground. Take a moment to walk the play area to look for anything of concern such as pieces of trash or rocks. Play areas with smooth safety surfacing are ideal.
Choose Playgrounds with A Range of Interest Areas
Some children prefer a quiet place to play creatively instead of more active play. Playgrounds with multiple features increase the opportunities that your child has to seek out quiet areas when the play space is busy. Although your child might want to play with new friends with your support, they may also prefer to go swing, play an instrument or interact with a panel on their own.
Playing outside with family and friends helps children use their abundant energy, and explore play in new and engaging ways. We hope that these playground tips help keep your child safe while they experience the joy that comes from spending a day at the playground.