FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – Every kid likes to play. But, for children living with disabilities, enjoying a day at the park might not be so easy. Many parks were simply not designed with special needs children in mind. It can be challenging and frustrating for both kids and their parents — anything but fun. However, that is all about to change in Frisco.
Andrea Sileing knows first-hand how hard a family park outing can be for special needs children. Her daughter has quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Most playground equipment does not accommodate her needs. And she is not alone.
“There’s not a lot of things for him to do when he’s still strapped in his wheelchair,” said Rene Sinclair, “and taking him out to slide down the slide is very difficult to do.”
Jenni Jensen’s daughter cannot play on normal playground equipment either. “It’s impossible for Nora,” she explained. The girl was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth, and her bones break easily. “She falls down easily. She can’t even walk the wood chips.” Jensen decided that it was time for special needs kids to have a place that was truly for them to play.
Two years ago, Jensen envisioned a park, and it is now becoming a reality. A 15,000 square foot park for special needs children is coming to Frisco. Families partnered with corporate sponsors and raised more than $600,000 to fund the project. The state-of-the-art park will have rubber flooring for kids with wheelchairs or walkers, a splash park, special bathrooms, and even fun physical therapy equipment.
It is called Hope Park, a name inspired by Jensen’s daughter. “I have so much hope for her,” Jensen said. “She’s such a special girl.”
The park will focus on kids with special needs, but will have all of the fun stuff that every kid likes — meaning that brothers and sisters will be able to play together regardless of their condition or abilities.
The City of Frisco donated land for the park. And while much of the money has been raised, they still need about $50,000 to complete the project.
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