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Saturday, July 12, 2014

A broken wheelchair swing - very sad!

We're home! I drove 3200 kilometers and I'm tired. I went grocery shopping today and I felt like a zombie circling the isles. I wasn't going to write either but there's always something on my mind to write about. I found out that the wheelchair swing at our local park has been damaged. It's been taken down. I don't know the details nor if it's being replaced. What bothers me is the complete lack of disrespect individuals have. First off when we brought our daughter confined in a wheelchair down to the park to swing, there was four children climbing and swinging on the wheelchair swing while their parents watched. I stood there for awhile waiting for the children to get off, or for their parents to say something - anything. Finally I spoke loud enough for their parents to hear stating this is a wheelchair swing and we are waiting to use it. There's a visible sign. Parents are arguing that it's equipment placed in a public park, so everyone should be able to enjoy it. I don't understand this, there is fourteen other swings for children to use and one wheelchair swing. Its purpose is for children in wheelchairs to enjoy swinging. I know new equipment is always a hot target, but I would not allow my able bodied children climbing and taking over equipment not intended for them. It would embarrass me as their parent. I'm very saddened that the wheelchair swing has been damaged. Not just because my daughter loves it, and other children confined in wheelchairs enjoy swinging, it's also because our Lions Club worked hard to install the swing. Not to mention these swings are not cheap. It's so disrespectful to destroy public property, or anything for that matter. Why? There is no benefits to be destructive. So the question is, "Will it be replaced?" I don't know but I did suggest if it does, I hope it does.....that it's locked up and people that want to use it, needs to show they have a wheelchair and then they can obtain a pass code to access the swing. It's a solution not only to protect the equipment, but to guarantee it's being used for its intended purpose. My idea didn't go over well during the discussion. I was critiqued. One parent said, "WOW ... lock the swing... "We're not equal, we deserve special treatment. Again, alienating instead of inclusion" Excuse me? Locking the swing is a preventative measure to keep it protected from vandals, to insure its proper use, and for safety reasons because children shouldn't be climbing and jumping on it. It has nothing to do with alienation. In fact the only individuals being alienated here is the children in their wheelchairs because now there is no swing because the children with working limbs pile on it, jump and rough house until it's broken. I personally seen parents read the wheelchair swing sign (rules attached) and then put their children on it. It's beyond me onto why they would allow this while there is a whole huge park to enjoy. It is the same as parking your vehicle in a handicap parking space without being physically disabled. It's not right. Now because of its misuse, it's broken. We can't take our daughter to the park without her screaming to swing and now she can't. I have contacted the news and I'm hoping that with some education, people will understand the importance of this specialized equipment. I was so happy watching our daughter laugh while swinging for hours. She was finally happy at the park. Now I'm afraid to bring her back with an empty space where the swing was...she will just cry. She will not understand what happened and where it went. This wheelchair swing isn't just park equipment to be climbed on and destroyed, it was our daughter's feeling of freedom. A little piece of happiness and the feeling of participation. It's very sad for not only our daughter, for our whole family because now we can't just go to our local park and enjoy ourselves without our daughter screaming to swing. Parents need to teach their children what specialized equipment is, to have the common sense to obied the rules and regulations, to have respect and compassion for what this equipment is intended for. I'm not asking for "special treatment" I'm asking for people to educate themselves, educate their children and have some respect. There is many children in our area in wheelchairs, and now the simple act of swinging has been taken away.
 A friend's daughter swinging below, and the right picture shows no more swing!

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