Vern Barnett School is a school catering for children with Autism and putting together a ‘play’ area for the children needed to meet the specific needs of their students and not just a stock standard off the shelf project approach. After sitting down with the school’s principal, we had a number of elements that needed to be addressed. A play area that promoted movement and fitness, not just a deck and slide type system. They required items that encouraged climbing, strength, balance and gross motor ability. As we had already completed a number of play areas throughout the school with rubber wetpour surfacing, the school entrusted us to come up with a design that met all these expectations. With the use of standalone equipment centres, we were able to meet each of these needs focusing on each of the elements required. For climbing we put together a triangular platform unit with a climbing wall and firepole as well as a spider net climber. For strength we used an overhead wave ladder, chin up bar and ring pull bar and for gross motor, a stationery cycler. With the balance element, the school was concerned that any type of balance beam would be daunting for the students that still required some sort of rail system to help them balance and give them the confidence to complete the task. So we combined two pieces of equipment using Pods for the children to balance on, but placing Parallel Bars on either side to assist them.
By listening to the client and really understanding what they needed for their students, we created a play space specific to their needs which they were extremely happy with and proud of. So much so, the school now allows other schools in the area with special needs classes, to bring their students in to use the equipment on a regular basis!