Over the last eighteen years, the PlayGarden has learned so much from families of children with and without disabilities in our community.
In 2017-2018 we had the great honor to partner with Public Health- Seattle & King County Best Starts for Kids Initiative to compile these stories in the form of a book called Say “Yes!” to Kids with Disabilities: Stories and Strategies for including ALL kids.
This book is rich with stories from parents, youth service organizations, and from children themselves. Through these stories, we learn about the barriers to participation for children (and adults) with disabilities and what has worked to break down these barriers. Within each page there is a piece of insight or wisdom – from a child, a parent or teacher that can be used to guide our thinking and our interactions with ALL kids – be that a child with or without a disability. The book is raw, packed full of heart-wrenching and heart-warming stories. It is a book that each of us can relate to it our own way.
Over the next six months we will be sharing a blog post once a week. The blog posts will explore a variety of topics or concepts mentioned in the toolkit and expand on them. The blog posts will also be a place to share some of the most powerful stories about inclusion we have heard from families. Most importantly, this blog will become a place for you all- our parents, youth and members of our PlayGarden community to share what it is you think is most important to live, work and play in an inclusive community.
We would LOVE for you to follow along with us as we share these posts.
As we begin this journey of sharing this book we first and foremost would like to thank the following people and organizations:
Eli, Samantha, Aadit, Camden, Max, Luca, Sophie, Mikus, Ella, Cleo, Miles, Leiney, Langston, Aurelia, Asher, Michaela, Annie, Eme, Liam, River, Winnie, Gabe, Wren, Ted, Tom and each and every PlayGarden kid: You are our teachers.
Thank you to all of the youth service providers that participated in our focus groups. Your honesty and eagerness to learn inspired us. Coyote Central, Seattle Bouldering Project, KidsQuest Children’s Museum, Seattle Mariners, Woodland Park Zoo, Burke Museum, Rainier Dance Center, and Roots of Connection.
To our PlayGarden Parents: Rose, Rick, Patrick, Jackie, Lynn, Paul, Shirin, Jess, Sara, Aisen, Orion, Chin and so many others we are so grateful to walk beside you. Thank you for sharing your kids with us.
To King County Best Starts for Kids Initiative and Public Health Seattle & King County, we are deeply grateful for the financial support you provided to do this important work and for all you do to help our community’s children grow stronger and healthier. King County believes “We all benefit when each and every King County child, youth and young adult is supported to achieve their full potential.”
To the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, we thank you for believing in the dream of the PlayGarden.
Last but not least, we hope that you will share your comments with us, subscribe to follow the blog, share the blog out to your networks of friends and coworkers, and email us if you have a story you’d like to share.