Springdale Public Schools has taken steps to install wheelchair-accessible swings at six district elementary schools to create opportunities for students who use wheelchairs to play alongside their classmates during recess.
The district is in the process of installing the Freedom Glider swings to play areas at George, Young, Hunt, Knapp, Sonora and Monitor elementary schools, said Janice Wisdom, district physical therapist. These schools were selected because they historically have more students using wheelchairs than other district elementary schools and would benefit the most from the swings due to their special education population.
Randall Lane, whose son, Logan, uses a wheelchair, said the addition of a wheelchair-accessible swing at his son's school means a lot to his family.
"As a parent of a special needs child, you want them to have the same opportunities as other kids," Lane said.
Logan, 8, has two other classmates at Sonora Elementary School who use wheelchairs, said Edith Fairchild, district physical therapist. There are more than 35 students who use wheelchairs throughout the district.
After much research, district physical therapists decided the Freedom Glider was the model of swing that best-met student needs, Wisdom said.
“Our primary need was that the student in the wheelchair would not have to be physically removed from their wheelchair but be able to enjoy the swing,” she said, adding the swings provide sensory stimulation, promote independence and create a sense of belonging for students.
The district used $89,683 in ESSR funds to pay for the six swings, Wisdom said, each in the school colors for the school they serve.
The first swing was introduced at Sonora Elementary School in November 2022, with four more installed at Young, Hunt, Knapp and Monitor elementary schools in the fall of 2022, she said. George Elementary School’s will be introduced once the school’s current construction project is completed.
Wisdom said installing the swings at Springdale schools wouldn't have been possible without the help of the district maintenance team, particularly Jeremy White and David Qualls and their crew.
"They truly came alongside us to make these swings a reality for our students," she said.