Playing together.

When people who are different are isolated from the masses they become unapproachable. Scary. Someone to be avoided. When we lack an understanding of how to behave, we protect ourselves by circumventing potentially uncomfortable situations. 


Creativity happens when disparate groups of peoples or cultures blend to create something new. And if the general public is distanced from people who are different, there are no opportunities for new, shared ideas. Therefore, one of the principles for designing for the fringe is to focus on togetherness, not on individuals

As children, we are the most susceptible to new ideas and ways of thinking. In a research paper comparing how adults versus children react in atypical relationships or situations, the researchers found that children "are less biased by prior assumptions and pay more attention to current evidence" than adults. But in our culture, those formative years are generally the years children with disabilities are most segregated from their peers, often attending special schools

Jonny and Melissa Fisher of Pocatello, Idaho wanted their daughter, Brooklyn, to experience the joy and freedom kids experience in a playground. However, with Spina Bifida, there was no place in their community for Brooklyn to play with other children.

Instead of being discouraged, Jonny and Melissa saw an opportunity for their community. They raised $500k+ to create an accessible playground for Brooklyn and all of her friends. (Listen to the 7:50 NPR segment for more of the story.) 

This inclusive playground for Brooklyn has therapeutic swings, ramps for the play structures and soft surfaces for play giving Brooklyn, and the other 3,000 kids in the Pocatello community with a disability, a place to play with all of their friends. 

NPR is building a national database of accessible playgrounds. If you need one, or know of one near you add it to the list.