For some parents, it might seem excessive to build a large amusement park specifically targeted at making their child feel included, but that's exactly what one Texas father did for his developmentally disabled daughter.
In 2007, Gordon Hartman started building an “ultra-accessible” 25-acre theme park in San Antonio, Texas. The idea came about the year before when his then 12-year-old daughter, who is seriously physically and cognitively delayed and who has autism, was snubbed by other children at a swimming pool.
Hartman dubbed the theme park Morgan's Wonderland after his daughter. Earlier this year, Morgan's Inspiration Island, a waterpark next to the theme park, opened. The two parks offer several unique features.
- Admission is free for all special needs guests. Children 2 and younger are also admitted for free.
- An optional GPS Adventure Band is available for every guest. This band prevents children from leaving the park if they are accompanied by an adult in their party. With it, you can also auto-track and located all the members of your group.
- You can also use the GPS Adventure Band to locate specific park features, including restrooms and concessions. The band also allows you to email yourself pictures at specific locations within the park.
- There are special waterproof motorized wheelchairs for use within the waterpark. While there are a limited number of wheelchairs available for use, there is no fee to use them.
- Rainbow Reef is a warm-water splash pad designed for those who have conditions that will not allow them to tolerate regular water temperatures.
- Many of the rides were created specifically with wheelchair guests in mind. For example, specialized “chariots” on the carousel allow wheelchair guests to go up and down, thereby enjoying the ride the same as other guests. Wheelchair swings allow guests to swing while in their wheelchairs. Other rides have wheelchair accessible ramps and other features to allow guests in wheelchairs easy access.
While many people do not have easy access to an inclusion park like this, it is important to allow those with special needs to feel like they are important. To learn more about this and related topics, visit the Behavorial Health section of your blog.
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