Adaptive playground unique fun for special needs children in Raleigh

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Always Dream Playground a unique place for children with special needs.

Some Wake County special needs children are having one of their best days at school.

On Wednesday, they got a new playground.

Most could never swing on a standard swing set. Or even run onto a playground in the first place. But now, their new special playground will help them play like the other children at Lead Mine Elementary School.

"We had to take the children down a hill and around the curb to get to the playground," said special needs teacher Denise Brown. "And they were able to play on some equipment, but not much."

So teachers, the PTA and the school's community raised tens of thousands of dollars to create the "Always Dream Playground," an adaptive playground built uniquely for students with special needs.

Children like Elias, who has a seizure disorder.

"When he's moving in the swing, that's a movement he doesn't normally get sitting in a wheelchair all day," said mom Lisa Colbe. "So just those sensory inputs help him develop things he wouldn't otherwise."

The swings, their seats and straps, stabilize children who often can't hold themselves up. But now they feel free to fly through the air, safe and secure -- with the wind against their face."

Others like the sensory boards to touch and feel and make music.

Even the bridge and the path around the playground is special material, so they can practice walking and movement. Because sometimes, just a few steps is a big victory.

"All kids, no matter what their gifts and talents are, deserve this space," said Aaron Marcin, Lead Mine Elementary School principal. "They deserve the ability to be outside to engage with one another to learn the social skills that are going to help them throughout the rest of their lives."

The playground cost $71,000. But parents and people in the community donated other elements of it -- so children with all kinds of needs can find something there just for them.

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