March 7, 2018

On today's show, Adrian visits Shane's Inspiration and talks with Scott Williams and Marci Moran about the work this Los Angeles charity is doing to bring inclusive playgrounds to children.

Recent estimates in the United States show that about one in six, or about 15%, of children aged 3 through 17 years have one or more developmental disabilities. These students are a diverse group. They may have physical impairments, emotional challenges or, accounting for the largest percentage of special-needs students, learning disabilities such as dyslexia. These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime.

Too often, children with disabilities are defined and judged by what
they lack rather than what they have.  Children with special needs can often feel excluded from mainstream society. Consequently they can feel that they do not fit in and are inferior.

Active play is just as important for children with disabilities. Studies have found that children with disabilities are excluded from play significantly more often than their peers without disabilities.

Inclusive play is a great way of bridging the divide between mainstream and special needs children. Both groups will benefit from these play methods and learn a lot from mixing with those different. 

Research has shown that young people with Special Educational Needs and disabilities would rather play “the same games that everyone else did” than games designed specifically for them”.   Accessible play areas and wheelchair-accessible playground equipment let them play and be children, just like everyone else. This is crucial for human development, the growth of social skills and self-confidence.

A typically developing child who’s never seen a child with a disability will just start playing with them because they haven’t been told that person is different or weird or strange.  Play is a vital part of how children grow.  Playgrounds are where children learn to explore, build friendships, and develop social skills they will use throughout their lives.

This brings us to today's charity, Shane's Inspiration.

Shane’s Inspiration’s mission is to create social inclusion for children with disabilities through the creation of inclusive playgrounds and programs that unite children of all abilities.

In 2000, they cut the ribbon on “Shane’s Inspiration Playground” in LA’s Griffith Park, beginning a wave of inclusive play that would change Los Angeles forever.  

The organization has grown from that one playground to a network of 65 inclusive playgrounds throughout the world, with another 75 in development.  They have eight international playgrounds in Mexico, Israel, Canada, Ecuador and Russia.  Their education and community outreach programs, which work to eliminate bias against children with disabilities, have directly served over 40,000 children in over 150 schools.  Their Inclusion Education Program, which allows educators an opportunity to independently facilitate their education program, has been ordered from 50 countries throughout the world.

Adrian visited by Shane's Inspiration in Sherman Oaks and talked with Scott Williams and Marci Moran.  Scott Williams, Co-Founder of Shane's Inspiration is a Screenwriter/Producer who is known for his work on NCIS, Bones, Castle, NYPD Blue, Third Watch, Crossing Jordan. 

Marci Moran, Sr. Vice President of Outreach & Events, is an Actress who worked in film and television before Shane's Inspiration called.