Evaluating the playground: Focus group interviews with families of disabled children

As landscape architects deal with the design of environments for children, the inclusion of children with disabilities in their peers should be one of the core goals in designing natural settings. They often times face problems while working in public playgrounds, parks and green landscapes mainly due to lack of ade- quate provisions to meet their special needs. The purpose of the present study is twofold: to investigate different kinds of problems and specific needs of disabled children in natural settings including parks and playgrounds in Ankara (Turkey), and also to offer solutions for solving these problems. This study that is of case study type consists of parents with disabled children aged between 8 and 12 years old. Parents were investigated and interviewed in the research to obtain their per- spectives. The findings revealed that there was a necessary need to improve and construct equipped natural settings specialized for children with disabilities.


Broadhead, P. (2004). Early years play and learning: developing social skills and cooperation. Psychology Press.

Cooper-Marcus, C. & Barnes, M. (1995). Gardens in health- care facilities: uses, therapeutic benefits, and design recommendations. Martinez, CA: The Center for Health Design.

Day, C., & Midbjer, A. (2007). Environment and children. Routledge. Ellis, M. J. (1973). Why People Play. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Federlein, A. C. (1981). Play in Pre- school Mainstreamed and Handicapped Settings. Saratoga, CA: Century Twenty One Publishing.

Fjortoft, I. (2001). ‘The Natural envi- ronment as a playground for children: the impact of outdoor play activities in pre-primary school children’, Early Childhood Education Journal, 29 (2), 111 – 117.

Fjortoft, I. (2004). Landscape as playscape: The effects of natural envi- ronments on children’s play and motor development, children, youth and envi- ronments, 14 92, pp. 21- 44.

Frost, J. (2006). The dissolution of children’s outdoor play: causes and con- sequences, presented to The Value of Play: a forum on risk, recreation and children’s health, 31st May, http://www. ipema.org/Documents/Common%20 Good%20PDF.pdf

Forsyth, R., & Jarvis, S. (2002). Participation in childhood. Child: Care Health & Development 28, 277-279.

Horticultural Therapy Association of Victoria Gardening, (2015) People with disabilities www.horticultural- therapy.com.au.

Hussein, H. (2009a). Sensory gar- dens. access by design, 118, 13-17.

Hussein, H. (2009b). Sensory gar- den in speacial schools: the issues, design and use, Journal of Design and Built Environment, 5, 77-95.

Kaplan, R. & Kaplan S. (1990). Restorative experience: The healing power of nearby nature, in the meaning of gardens, ed. Francis M, Hester R T, 238- 244. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Khalife Soltani, S.H., Abbas, M.Y. & Amang, M. (2012). Disabled Children in Public Playground: A Pilot Study, Asian Journal of Environment- Behav- ioral Atudıes. Volume. 3, Number 8.

Krause, J. S. & Kjorsvig, J. M. (1992). Mortality after spinal cord injury: A four-year prospective study. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 73, 558-563.

Law, M., King, G., King, S., Kertoy, M., Hurley, P., Rosenbaum, P., Young, N., & Hanna, S., (2006). Patterns of participation in recreational and lei- sure activities among children with complex physical disabilities. Develop- mental Medicine and Child Neurology, 48(5), pp. 37-42.

Ministry of Education. (1993). The Universal playground: A planning guide. Victoria, British Columbia: Queen’s Printer for British Columbia.

Moore, R. C. (1989). Playgrounds at the crossroads. In Public places and spaces (pp. 83-120). Springer US.

Murhpy, N. A. & Carbone, P.S. (2008). Promoting the participation of children with disabilities in sports, recre- ation and physical activities. Pediatrics, 121(5), 1057-61.

ODPM. O.o.t.D.P.M. (2003). Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future. London, ODPM

ODPM. O.o.t.D.P.M. (2002). Sus- tainable Communities: Building for the Future. London, ODPM

Olds, A. R. (1989). Nature as healer. Children’s environments quarterly, 6, 27-32.

Potther, P. & Bradbury, H. (2001). Handbook of action research. London: Sag

Pouya, S. & Demirel O. (2015), What is a healing garden? Akdeniz University Journal of the Faculty of Agriculture, 28(1): 5-10.

Scholl, K. G., Smith, J. G., & Davison, A., (2005). Agency readiness to provide inclusive recreation and af- ter-school services for children with disabilities. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 39(1), 47-62.

Shirin, Mr. (2000). Children’s foundation, digital child alert, world children’s day new millennium world’s chil- dren: Digital Child Warning Report. Sutton, L., (2008). The state of play: disadvantage, play and children’s well-being’, Social policy and Society, 7 (4), pp. 537 – 549.

Ulrich RS., (1999). Effects of gar- dens on health outcomes: Theory and research. ın healing gardens therapeutic benefits and design recommendations, ed. Clare Cooper Marcus and Marni Barnes, 27-86. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

UNICEF. (2007). Child- friendly text UN disability convention. United Nation. Webb, R (1965). Oiga magazin, Lima, circa.

Uuslu, A., Shakouri, N., (2008). Friendly play area and outdoor design- Disabled children, Erciyes Universi- ty Institute of Science and Technology Magazine, 28(5):367-374.

Wells, N. M. & Evans, G. W., (2003). Nearby nature: A buffer of life stress among rural children. Environment & Behavior, 35, 311-330.

Wells, M., & Arthur-Banning, S.G., 2008. The logic of youth development: Constructing a logic model of youth development through sport. Journal of Park & Recreation Administration, 26(2), 189-202.

West, P. C., 1984. Social stigma and community recreation participation by the physically and mentally hand- icapped. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 26(1), 40-49.

Wilson, E. O. (1984). Biophilia. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Wolff, P. (1979). The Adventure Play- ground as a Therapeutic Environment.” In Designing for Therapeutic Environments: A Review of Research. Chichester, Great Britain: John Wiley and Sons.

Kaynak Göster