Positive assessment of the pilot play support project for children with disabilitiesThe pilot project for children and adults with disabilities who need support to enjoy play areas in city parks has been highly rated by the 36 families who took part, most of whom would take part in a new edition. The success of the project, a pioneering initiative at a national and European level, will enable a definitive play support service to be designed.
The service consisted of supporting families with staff specialised in outdoor play areas to facilitate play activities for children, help them engage with play elements, monitor free play, promote contact with other children and more.
In all, 36 families took part: 31 of these had children and teenagers with disabilities and 5 were families where parents had visual disabilities. The service consisted of ten assisted play sessions for families, each lasting an hour, over a period of six months from July 2022. In all, 225 hours of service were offered.
Very positive evaluation
Practically all of the participants in the project regarded it as a very valuable programme for the inclusion of children, with over 65% of families affirming it had reduced the sensation of loneliness.
The families highlighted the chance to enjoy pleasant play-based leisure, the experience and the learning involved, thanks to monitoring and the way that the children were able to socialise with other children. They also pointed out how they were able to devote more time to other children without disabilities.
In families where parents had visual disabilities, the programme enabled them to interact with children in a more participatory way, and they gave a positive evaluation of the fact that children could play freely, with monitors describing their children’s activity to them.
The pilot project was part of the Plan on Play in Public Space and the Action Plan 2020-2024 from the Municipal Strategy against Loneliness.