Inclusion By Design - April is Autism Awareness Month
Published April 9, 2021 | Credit: Softline Solutions

Creating Safe Play Spaces

According to CDC, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects approximately 1 in 54 persons in the United States. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder have senses that are either hyper-sensitively or hypo-sensitively stimulated. This includes sights, sounds, smells, taste, touch, balance and kinesthesia.

While play should be stimulating in multiple levels of activities. Children with autism spectrum disorder have trouble managing the highly-stimulated senses leading them to struggle navigating and calculating risks. When visiting a playground, they can become easily overwhelmed or excited making them want to hide or to burst through the playground with high energy.

Softline FirstBase Surface System

Softline Solutions works with groups to design and build the safest surfaces for our children. As we always say, protecting children through play starts at planning stage. We recommend accomodating as many of the following points as possible to create a dream playspace.

  1. Setting - creating a safe playspace includes being at a safe distance from any busy roadway. A child with autism spectrum can get sudden bursts of energy causing them to exit the playground. If the playground is near a busy roadway, can you accommodate a fence or a large safety embankment zone?
  2. Colors - creating calm color hue entrances can soften the mood for entry into an excitable space. This area gives time for the child to relax and examine the play zone before playing.
  3. Quiet space. Creating a quiet zone within the playground is widely appreciated by children with ASD as it provides them with a sense of security in an unknown play space.
  4. Direction - A child on the autism spectrum appreciates calm settings with a safe, channeled navigation design through the playgrounds. This includes clearly identifying playing (movement) zones and safe trails leading the child through the playground to explore at their own pace giving them an increased feeling of security and direction.  

Softline FirstBase Surface System

Softline Solutions FirstBase playground surface system is the ultimate playground surface solution for clear navigation and protection throughout the playgrounds. Surface colors and clear directional design guides the children safely through the playgrounds. FirstBase is certified by the International Playground Equipment Manufacturer’s Association (IPEMA), meets ASTM F1292, ASTM F1951, CSA Z614:20 standards and is ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliant. For further information on Softline's surfaces, please click here or reach out for assistance.

Last updated on 
April 9, 2021