New playground opens for disabled children

LOS ANGELES The Everychild Foundation Universally Accessible Playground, which includes "sensory-rich" equipment accessible to disabled children, is the only one of its kind in downtown Los Angeles, according to hospital officials.

The nearly half-acre playground has been built to accommodate children with wheelchairs, leg braces, crutches and other equipment that makes it difficult or impossible to play in traditional playgrounds.

It features a foam ground cover to protect the children if they fall. The park has colorful slides and interactive sound panels.

The state of the art playground was developed through a joint effort involving the Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital, City of Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Department and other groups.

City officials were on hand for the opening on Thursday along with a lot of happy parents and children. The hospital treats more than 50,000 children with crippling disorders every year.

The playground is also for kids without disabilities as well.

"If you are fortunate enough to grow up normal a lot of times you will not get much exposure to children with disabilities. And you do not know how to relate to them and it is sort of intimidating when you see a child in a brace or a child in a wheelchair. You really do not know what to do. This is why if they play together the abled body children will be comfortable with children with disabilities," said Dr. James Luck, Medical Director, Orthopaedic Hospital.

The park is open to the public seven days a week for children between the ages of 2 to 12. Officials expect approximately 125,000 kids annually to play at the park.


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