The members of our team are all busy with – among other parental duties - bringing their children to playgrounds. Some of us have the honor to raise very special children too (with a less friendly terminology: disabled children). Our three special little chaps, Aron, David and Jancsi have started their life with enormous difficulties. They encountered huge obstacles since birth. As a consequence their development is different from the average children’s regarding movement or other abilities.
Children like them attend an awful lot of private sessions (out-of-curriculum activities?) weekly – we call them development therapy and we spend a lot of time on them. These sessions are sometimes funny and playful but more often they are boring and exhausting for the kids. Besides, these therapies are obligatory and there are a lot of them. One asks rightfully about the happy childhood, the careless laughs and playing. And what about the siblings? Living the family life together? After years of rigorous therapy sessions and development exercises at home we ourselves started to address these questions and we concluded that we have to go to
the playgrounds too, not only to therapy sessions. That’s how we ended up one day in the playground so that we would play there and meet average families and our children will make friends despite of differences and oddities and stuff like that. On the playground however we had to realize that there is no equipment at all which our special kids could use without the ability of sitting straight, walking or using their hands. Not to mention that while we struggled to fit them into regular playground equipment our other children have disappeared, fell down from the climbing frame, threw sand into the other kids’ eyes or were just simply not able to climb into the swing on their own and got desperate. And the other children and the other adults have watched this and they probably have noted to themselves how strange we were. That’s how we ended up going quite rarely to the playground which is not good for anyone. It’s not good for our children because they are isolated from the real world. And it’s not good for us, parents too because… of the same reason. It’s even not good for the children in the playground because they miss the chance to meet us. We wished to have a playground where there is safety belt on the swing, the slide is wide and not too steep, where children with all abilities play together and their parents are chatting with each other instead of giving/receiving glances aside and the all live happily ever after. So we started to think of creating such a playground. We could already picture a magical fairy playground without obstacles and borders. ‘How wonderful it would be to have one!’ we cried out. But then we thought ‘No, no, not only one we need but a lot of them! We cannot expect ALL the families with special children to pilgrimage to the one and only special playground to get a chance to play. Don’t they have enough miles to go from this therapy session to the other one??’ So we realized that it is the playground equipment which should be re-designed and
distributed everywhere on the Globe in order to make any playground suitable for special kids. This is much more democratic!
This was the point where we decided to launch our save-the-world project. We will design special playground equipment that disabled and abled bodied children can use together! We will manufacture and distribute them everywhere! So any mayor, head of school, nursery, or manager of children centre can choose to equip their existing playground with some of our special equipment. This is fun for every child not only for the abled bodied ones so let the hearts open for the children who operate a bit differently. In brief, this is how Team Magikme – with the intended meaning of ‘how wonderful we are’ - was born. As a coincidence, in Dutch the name means ‘let me…’. And those who know children with development challenge know exactly that these children are wonderful. And those who have big hearts agree with enabling these children to play with their peers.
We welcome those who raise children with special needs and therefor interested in our playground project because they also want to take part in the noisy life of playgrounds. Hello to those who are just parents visiting playgrounds and would like their children to see and learn to accept different types of people.We welcome the ones interested due to their profession and the ones who are just open to our work for no special reason, who simply believe in all children's basic right to play on a seesaw.We would also like to welcome our friends and our future friends, and all of you who are supporting us in realizing our big dream: suitable playgrounds for children with all kind of abilities.On this blog you can read about our story, our experience so far, and our thoughts about the world, playgrounds and social integration - all this from the point of view of special kids' parents.Join us, have fun or think and discuss about what you read here. Support us if you can and donate to our crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Please share our story to help us find our supporters so that our dream can come true!