Long-awaited Playground for Everyone dedicated in Arlington Heights

  • Seven-year-old Ryan Ruffolo of South Barrington jumps from a piece of climbing equipment Wednesday at the new all-inclusive playground at Miner School in Arlington Heights. Ryan's older brother, Matthew, was a student at the school and had a reading bench dedicated in his memory. Matthew died in 2018.

    Seven-year-old Ryan Ruffolo of South Barrington jumps from a piece of climbing equipment Wednesday at the new all-inclusive playground at Miner School in Arlington Heights. Ryan's older brother, Matthew, was a student at the school and had a reading bench dedicated in his memory. Matthew died in 2018. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Judy Hackett, superintendent of the Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization, speaks in the background Wednesday during the dedication of the new Playground for Everyone. The all-inclusive, accessible playground at Miner School in Arlington Heights features equipment and play stations that can be used by students of all abilities.

    Judy Hackett, superintendent of the Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization, speaks in the background Wednesday during the dedication of the new Playground for Everyone. The all-inclusive, accessible playground at Miner School in Arlington Heights features equipment and play stations that can be used by students of all abilities. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Visitors check out the new Playground for Everyone, an all-inclusive play area for kids with a wide range of abilities. It was dedicated Wednesday at Miner School in Arlington Heights.

    Visitors check out the new Playground for Everyone, an all-inclusive play area for kids with a wide range of abilities. It was dedicated Wednesday at Miner School in Arlington Heights. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
Daily Herald report
Updated 8/25/2021 7:46 PM

Kids have a wide variety of interests, abilities and needs, but there's one thing they all seem to have in common -- a love of play.

It was with that in mind Wednesday that educators, parents and local dignitaries gathered at Miner School in Arlington Heights for the long-awaited dedication of the new Playground for Everyone.

 

A project of the Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization, the playground features pieces of equipment and play stations not typically found in other accessible playgrounds. They include specially designed pieces that address the needs of students with more complex disabilities and allow children with a range of needs to engage in imaginative, cooperative play.

Funded in part with state grants and charitable donations, the new playground was built over a rubber surface, letting children interact and play together safely and allowing more independence for children with physical disabilities.

The design allows parents and grandparents who have disabilities or mobility impairments to participate in play with children.

The playground also features a reading corner funded with support from friends and family of Matthew Ruffalo, a onetime Miner student who died in 2018 at 16 years old.

The NSSEO is a special education cooperative that serves students with significant and complex disabilities who live in school districts 21, 23, 25, 26, 57, 59, 211 and 214. Miner School is an NSSEO therapeutic day school that serves students from early childhood through eighth grade.

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