Students Plan Special Playground

Article excerpt

Designing a safe and enticing playground for children is challenging enough, but Assistant Professor Lorraine Maxwell gave a group of students a much more daunting task: to develop guidelines for a children's playground at a family camp for sight-impaired adults and their children, some with vision impairments and some without.

Using a variety of multisensory surfaces (wood, rubber, sand, grass, black top, crushed rock), play structures (ropes, steering wheels, pulleys, buckets), and cues to aid with navigation (gongs, buzzers, pipe chimes), the team developed guidelines for a unique "integrated" playground that allows visually impaired adults to play safely with their children.

"The outdoor play area had to provide a sense of safety for blind or partially blind adults while being stimulating to children of all ages and abilities, including those with a range of disabilities," says Maxwell, assistant professor of design and environmental analysis. "It also had to provide the children with a sense of freedom, independence, and improved self-concept."

The project came about at the request of an alumna of the college.

Nancy Weber '73, director of Visions, Inc., Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, wanted to redesign the outdoor play area of their Vacation Camp for the Blind, which is located in Rockland County, N. …