Adaptive playground brings joy to parents of children with special needs

Kids with special needs have a new place to call home in Richmond County.
Kids with special needs have a new place to call home in Richmond County.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Kids specialize in having fun, so the local YMCA found a way to make sure that all children could do just that.  The Wilson Family Y cut the ribbon on its new adaptive playground.  The area, located behind the YMCA and near the soccer field, gives children with special needs and their parents a chance to take part in a childhood staple.

Allison Vallotton told NewsChannel 6 she knew her daughter Victoria would love it before she saw it.

“I know she is going to enjoy the swings,” she said with a smile.

Allison’s pre-teen Victoria loves what almost every child does.

“There were very few places that we could go for her to play and be like every other child,” Vallotton explained when talking about her daughter’s childhood.

She has mobility issues.  She always did.  And a rolling walker at 2-years-old made play time difficult.

She described, “Some places did not have fencing and that made me a little nervous that she was loose.  Stairs a lot of times she couldn’t get up to the slide to go down.”

Sterling Ivey is another mom who knows the struggle all too well.

“A dream come true really for lots of families who have children with special needs,” she said.

Ivey is Katherine’s mom.  She and Victoria’s mom are thrilled for their children to explore the new adaptive playground at the Y.

“When Katherine was younger she had gross and fine motor delays, which meant she had issues walking.  When we’d go to a park I’d have to pick her up and carry her because we didn’t want her falling and getting upset and not wanting to love the park,” she recalled.

The children both love their new space.  And the Y hopes others will soon call it home too since it’s the only adaptive playground in Richmond County.

“They have done a phenomenal job looking at what is needed for all,” Vallotton added.

Ivey said, “The adaptive playground may just be a stepping stone for these children when they’re born and when they’re young, but they need that adaptive environment.  Years down the road, like Katherine is now 12 and she can navigate a regular playground.”

Following the launch of the adaptive playground, ,the Y held its Track or Treat where children dressed up and received Halloween candy.

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