For the child living with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), the urban landscape can be an alienating, frightening environment. Keith McAllister and Neil Galway of Queen’s University, Belfast, argue that planners and architects must rise to the challenge of including children with ASD within the modern child friendly city.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong, complex developmental disorder characterised by a triad of qualitative impairments (Wing & Gould, 1979): in social communication; in social interaction; and in social imagination. The range of the spectrum is such that while some may be able to live relatively independently, others will require lifelong continuous support.
Worldwide the numbers of those living with the condition varies between 1 in 300 to 1 in 100. The UK’s National Autistic Society estimates that around 1 per cent of the population has ASD, although this figure seems to be increasing. Full blog
As a child, when I wasn’t eating, sleeping or at school, I was making.
My memories of childhood relate to stuff – smell, material and texture: digging up the garden to make heavy, grogged clay; melting wax crayons to make 3D shapes; building matchstick houses; casting plaster in Disney latex moulds; and cutting out. Always cutting, shaping and sticking. Full blog
As with anything in the early years, first-hand real play experiences have so much more to offer than just watching others use it or reading about it. Many early years practitioners are highly critical of using real tools in the early years and believe it to be dangerous and their group of children to be too irresponsible however many have found great success and fewer dangerous incidents from using real tools. Full blog
Mike Greenway, Director of Play Wales
Some time ago when involved in the production of a publication aimed at identifying quality in playwork  I found myself revisiting decisions my partner and I had made in respect of our own children’s play. It was the 70s and we had very clear ideas about gender stereotyping and war games. Full blog
Over-protective parenting has denied the next generation the happy adventures of roaming free, says Jane Bradley Our house is currently filled with talk of ginger beer picnics, secret societies and cries of “it’s all very peculiar!” My four-year-old daughter has discovered Enid Blyton. She clamours every night for the next instalment of whatever Secret Seven or Five Find Outers tome we are reading. Full blog here
We need to stop concentrating our energies on hazard-proofing playgrounds, and worry instead about how our buildings and environments could be better suited to children, says Phineas Harper in this Opinion column. Blog for interest
It is a disappointing thing to see new playgrounds developed in city spaces sit there empty each day, or to walk in the park and hear no laughter. What is missing here is not the children per se, but materials and environments that create challenge, imagination, and creativity that make children want to play outdoors. The absence of such play environments is not only influencing the quantity and quality of children’s play, but also affecting children’s health and well-being. As adults, we need to support children in learning to enjoy what free play in the outdoors has to offer. We need to inspire imaginations, creative minds, and capable bodies. To do this, we can look toward two simple things: nature and adventure.
Many within the UK’s street play movement want to see long-term changes to the design of residential streets, but know they need to marshall the evidence to support their case. Professional architect and Playing Out activist, Helen Forman is well qualified to do just that. In this blog from the Playing Out website, she talks about her new literature review of this area, Residential Street Design and Play, and what inspired her to undertake it. Full blog
The Scottish Parliament has debated the country’s first Play Charter, developed and promoted by Play Scotland, the national play charity. Adrian Voce reports.
A motion to support Scotland’s first Play Charter, developed by Play Scotland, was debated in the Scottish Parliament on 14 March 2017. It was proposed by Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), Ruth Maguire of the Scottish National Party (SNP). Full blog here
You can read full transcript from Scotland’s Play Charter Debate held at the Scottish Parliament on 14 March here
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