According to the World Health Organization, 15% of the world’s population (an estimated 1.1 billion people) identify as having some form of disability. This represents the world’s largest minority, and the only minority group that any of us can become a member of at any time.
According to Statistics Canada, more than 5.3 million Canadians—almost 16% of the population in this country—are living with some form of disability that affects their level of freedom, independence or quality of life. Of that number, over 200,000 are children and youth.
Canadians recognize there's a problem with inclusion. According to 2004 Environics research, just 10% of Canadians believe people with disabilities are fully included in society. The majority of Canadians also want to help improve the lives of people with disabilities and agree the social benefit is worth the cost.
Only a very small percentage of fully inclusive playgrounds exist in both Canada and the United States.
It’s not only children, as there are many adults who are affected by disability. This includes parents or caregivers with sensory disabilities — like feeling easily overwhelmed with bright colors or unexpected loud noises — and those who are hearing or visually impaired, among others. Also, caregivers of all abilities may need to accompany children throughout the playground. Imagine a playground where grandparents can join their grandchildren with easy access to any point of the park.