Inaccessible Accessibility

People decided to add a wheelchair swing to our truly fantastic playground. It’s a wonderful idea because, as I’m sure everybody will agree, it’s great for disabled and non-disabled kids to play together and learn that everybody likes to play irrespective of how their bodies work.

But when the wheelchair swing materialized, it kind of defeated the whole idea. As you can see in the photo, the swing is surrounded by a huge (and obviously expensive) fence. The gate is always locked and there are massive iron chains keeping it in place. Since the time of the filming, a large sign saying “This swing is only for wheelchairs!!!” was added. As if those wheelchairs didn’t contain kids who’d be the primary users of the swing.

I’m at this playground a lot, and I’ve never seen it used. It’s a mystery how the parents of disabled kids are supposed to access the key and remove the heavy chains. It’s as if the authors of the idea were trying to create a monument to inaccessibility and ensure that disabled kids feel as marginalized and boxed away as possible. And also excluded, if their parents have no idea how to enable access to the prohibitive structure.

The purpose of the fence is unclear. The artificial barrier between disabled and non-disabled kids is, if anything, very counterproductive. I’d think it would be great if healthy kids played on the swing and when a disabled kid appeared, learned to give place and play together.

6 thoughts on “Inaccessible Accessibility”

  1. Astonishing – here in the UK there was a (publicly funded) scheme to install floodlights, to allow for evening matches and training, on an astroturf football pitch located beside a school. The gates were padlocked shut every afternoon when the school shut at 3pm…


  2. The grift is out there in the open.


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