Disability and Social Change - Perceived Barriers to Participation in Physical Activity for Children with Disabilities

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Maliga NAIDOO, University of KwaZulu Natal, Department of Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Sciences, South Africa
In 1996, the constitution of South Africa was adopted which promoted equal rights for all people, and specifically details the rights of people with disabilities and their right to equality. The importance of play for children’s social development and wellbeing has been widely discussed. Something as important as developing social relationships and inclusion cannot be left to chance but should form part of a broad agenda for equality. However, disabled children and their families constantly encounter challenges due to the physical and social barriers within community play spaces. These challenges often deny children the benefits which play can provide within this setting. This presentation draws attention to the current situation surrounding public playground accessibility within the city of Durban, South Africa. There appears to be a growing interest worldwide in the concept of purpose-built public playground facilities that are intended specifically to provide play experiences for all children, regardless of their abilities. Child-centred or community-focused facilities are explored, in which participation in a playground is supported as a desirable social activity within a connected, inclusive community. This paper will provide an outline of legislation and policies in South Africa that are relevant to inclusive playground provision for social change and the principle of inclusion as the foundation concept of shared play in an inclusive playground. Using a case study approach, play facilities are examined for inclusivity, with the emphasis on the views of young disabled people and their families towards what constitutes an inclusive play area. The paper identifies the importance of not only addressing physical constraints but also creating a space where disability is viewed in a positive light. The paper concludes by critically examining the implications of the findings for the delivery of inclusive play spaces, to transform communities and promote social change.