Outdoor activities accessible to disabled children
For families with children with disabilities, it can be difficult to find outdoor activities that meet their needs. Fortunately, the Sarasota County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources has installed a number of fun and accessible features at local parks, making the outdoors easy for every child.
On Saturday, August 14, the county unveiled new ADA-compliant swings that allow easy use for children with autism, physical disabilities and other disabilities. More than $ 4000 was given to the parks department for this installation.
Find these swings at the playgrounds of Siesta Beach, Twin Lakes Park, Turtle Beach, South Lido Beach, North Jetty Beach, Caspersen Beach, and Englewood Sports Complex.
Other accessible outdoor sites include paved and wheelchair-friendly trails at Island Park near Marina Jack, the Legacy Trail, and Selby Gardens, which has ramps and an elevator in the Ann Goldstein Children’s Rainforest Garden.
Another resource for families is the Sarasota County T-REC Coalition. Eight local agencies work together to provide free recreational programs for children with disabilities. Monthly activities include sporting events, pool and beach parties, walks and more. To learn more, visit the Sarasota County website.
If you want to visit the beach, beach wheelchairs are offered in Lido, Siesta, Nokomis, Venice and Manasota. Visit the lifeguard stations at each public place to borrow one for free. Beach access mats, which allow ordinary wheelchairs to move on the sand, are also available on the beaches of Siesta and Venice.
For a fully accessible park experience, visit Senator Bob Johnson’s Pier in Venice, where you’ll find a kayak launch ramp, boardwalk, and wildlife viewing trail with ramps and wheelchair access.
And if you need resources, day programs, and other treatment options for your child, Easterseals Southwest Florida can help.
“One of the great things about our community is that we are responsive to the needs of others, and we’re trying to develop a list of services that reflect that,” said Carrie Rasmussen, Director of Community Engagement at Esterseals Southwest Florida. “Not only will the kids have a place to go for the obvious things like treatment, but also places in the community to have fun and live life.”