Wake County school opens adaptive playground for students with special needs

(CBS North Carolina)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Students, faculty, staff and parents at Lead Mine Elementary started their Wednesday by breaking in a new facility, the Always Dream Playground.

The Wake County school holds classes for kids with and without disabilities. In order to ensure that all the school’s students could enjoy the outdoors, Lead Mine’s administrators and parent-teacher association worked to bring an “adaptive playground” to the school.

The facility offers soft surfaces for rolling wheelchairs, sensory stations with games and adaptive swings, which support students’ bodies more fully than traditional swings and allow students to be strapped in.

The $70,000 project was funded by city grants, private donations and community partners.

One parent couldn’t get enough of seeing his son enjoy the playground.

“For him, this kind of input, playing with the bells, feeling and swinging, gives him a lot of input and stimulation and excitement and pleasure, so it’s exciting that the school would provide that for them,” said Mark Armstrong of Wake Forest, whose son is visually and hearing impaired.

He added, “We tend to use the word special needs for these children and obviously they are special, but we love about Lead Mine Elementary is they see the importance of inclusion.”

The Always Dream project was inspired by a former Lead Mine student who died. Loved ones say he wanted to engage and enjoy the outdoors, but the limitations of some playgrounds prevented him from playing safely.

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