Social inclusion is a beautiful thing. Wouldn’t it be nice to be part of a society where every member of a community would have access to the same privileges, regardless of their social status, physical or mental impairments? Unfortunately, for many people out there, that’s not the case.
Most of the time, these valued members of our society don’t feel a sense of belonging, since their communities are not very welcoming to their disabilities, making it hard for them to fully integrate and leaving them on the sidelines.
In a bid to making some of their parks more inclusive and accessible to people with physical disabilities, the Parks and Recreation Department of Fort Smith, Arkansas, held a public hearing for the community to voice their opinions.
Keley Simpson, a missions facilitator with the First Presbyterian Church, was attending the public meeting when she saw a man with his son in a wheelchair, where he shared that his son had never experienced what was like to be in a park swing. His story deeply touched Ms. Simpson.
The church she works for was looking to find a way to give back to the community and recognize all people with disabilities. Donating a wheelchair swing to be installed at one of the city’s parks seemed to be the right thing to do.
Once the wheelchair accessible park swing was installed, kids that would just normally be watching other children have fun in it, would now finally be able to join in!
One of these fortunate kids is Seth Allen. He has cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy and microcephaly from a stroke had as an infant. His doctors said he would live in a vegetative state, but Seth would prove everyone wrong. His parents work a great deal to make the world accessible to for their 10-year-old.
Seth’s happiness can be seen in a video his mom, Trish Allen, shared as he enjoyed the swing for the first time. It’s clear he is having so much fun and his laugh is contagious. The video got over a hundred thousand shares so far.
“He wasn’t sure what to think because he had no experience with anything like this before,” Trish said. “We put him on it and as you can see in the video, he was excited,” Trish said to KFSM.
Seth’s parents hope this great initiative leads the way for more public parks to become more inclusive to people with disabilities.
“We’re the voice of these kids and they can only get as much of the world as we can give to them, don’t be afraid to step out there and speak up for your child to give them opportunities that other children have, as well.”
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WHEELCHAIR SWING: 10-year-old Seth Allen is now getting to enjoy the park like other kids thanks to a wheelchair accessible swing. You'll want to hear these giggles:
Posted by Krystle Sherrell 5NEWS on Monday, March 26, 2018