The Key to Life is Inclusion

Wouldn’t it be nice to raise our kids in a world of acceptance and compassion? To let them view others as equals, no matter what the race, cultural background, religion and development? This is the kind of environment that I want to expose my boys to.

Children are strongly influenced by their parents and caregivers. We are the first people to plant the seeds in their brain to help them form their ideas and opinions about others and the world.

Unfortunately, I know that there is a lot of ignorance, fear and uncertainty to provide this type of lifestyle to our kids, but with the help of strong leaders and people coming together we can make a change.

Recently, Let All The Children Play Foundation (LATCP) and Hofstra University put together an inclusive sports clinic for children and their families. This was a great way for children of all developments to come together to play sports, meet friends and just be kids.

I brought my five-year old son with me and he lit up by the size of the gymnasium at Hofstra. He received his own “INCLUDE” t-shirt and was ready to begin.

LATCP, Child Life Mommy

Before the event formally started, the room was echoed with laughter, conversations and occasional screams. Kids sat by their parents or explored this new space with running in circles on the court. As I sat there soaking it all up, I felt that there was a sense of acceptance from not just the kids but also from the parents. They seemed relaxed and not judged.

We were welcomed by the organizers from LATCP and the kids were divided up into four age groups. The coaches were Hofstra athletes. The kids were able to play ball, soccer, catch and baseball. They rotated through each section and were greeted by a new coach.

LATCP Child Life Mommy

LATCP Child lIfe Mommy

photo 7

It was nice to see the athletes connect with the kids and make them feel special. They were patient, encouraging and quite funny.

LATCOP Child Life Mommy

LATCP Child life Mommy

We had a great time and look forward to future events.

I encourage others to expose their kids to events like this. Let’s plant seeds of compassion, inclusion and leadership.

LATCP Child lIfe Mommy

All kids at play

Invitation to an inclusive sports clinic

All Kids at Play

Have you ever been to a playground that is accessible to all children? A playground that offers an inclusive environment for children with special needs or who may use a wheelchair?  A space that allows children to have the freedom to play with one another without limitations?

There is a playground in our town created from the LATCP. They designed a play space in a large community park in Nassau county that has been open for a little over two years.

The area is gated, with several play structures for different developmental age groups. It is colorful and inviting with wide sidewalks that connect to all areas. There is soft padding under all structures and several pieces of the equipment that is wheelchair accessible.

We brought our kids here last weekend to enjoy a beautiful fall day.

Here are a few pictures of this amazing space.

DSC_0633

DSC_0622

DSC_0587

DSC_0596

DSC_0604

DSC_0620

DSC_0606

DSC_0634

DSC_0602

DSC_0592

One of the things I noticed about this space is that it incorporates a variety of ways to include all children and help stimulate an array of their senses. There is a music spot that kids can jump on, pound or roll over. There is a large sand box and table. There are structures to help with gross and fine motor skills. There are reclined, suspended and rotating seats to allow children with low muscle tone to play.

Most of all, I thought that this is a great place for parents and caregivers to converse and build friendships with others who visit the park.

Does your community have something like this?