One of the best parts of being a child is to have abundant playtime, it is what defines childhood. However there are a certain set of children within the population who can’t experience this because they possess atypical bodies and behavioural styles. Yes the disabled children within the population find it difficult to unwind and lose themselves in endless hours of playtime and experience the bliss that comes along with it especially in India. I can very well relate to this because I am a disabled citizen in this country and I was once a child too. Wasn’t I?
As years are going by facilities in India for the disabled population are increasing. The PWD Act 1995 has been implemented which is quite comprehensive in nature through which the government is bring out various qualitative changes over the years. Even the recent ‘Accessible India campaign’ which was recently launched is quite impressive. It promises to remove architectural barriers from buildings and make them more accessible, making public transport more disabled-friendly bringing changes in ICT systems etc. policymakers and scholars in this field are bringing about imperative changes, the one area in which I see very little or no discussion at all is the recreational/ leisure facilities for the disabled.
Recreation/ leisure/ playtime whatever you may call it is imperative for any child. Other than the manifest benefits of relaxing a child and acting as a source of joy, it has many latent benefits too. Such as:
- It gives the child emotional stimulation which helps in building their EQ
- It builds the child’s self-confidence
- Acts as a let-out for all the unused physical energy and emotional baggage of the child
- It helps the child learn team work
- It instils moral values in a child such as honesty/playing by the rules etc,
- Helps in the all-round social development when the child mingles with their peers and much more.
In short it lays the ground for all-round development of the child. Hence neglecting a child from playing is a crime.
Disabled children are already suffering from developmental disorders, their all-round development is further hampered when they are neglected from opportunities to play.
How many playgrounds and parks in India are equipped to cater to children with special needs? How many sports clubs do we have designed for children with special needs? Like say a basketball coaching class for disabled children or say a tennis class. I am quite sure these programmes can be implemented in India too because they’ve already been implemented in other parts of the world they even have swimming centres which have specially trained instructors to teach swimming to the disabled children, swimming in itself has proven to be quite beneficial for children with special needs. However I was lucky enough to have learnt swimming but I’ve heard of people being rejected admission into swimming classes on the grounds of disability. Such is the state of India. However xenocentric I may sound now, in the western countries they even have specially designed dance classes for people like me. Oh what fun!
Some of these programmes may already exist in our country but are quite small in number and farfetched. The outreach of these programmes need to increase considering the large population of disabled children in our country and the importance of leisure.
Not only the children but adults with disabilities need facilities for leisure too. Even today as a 21 year old man I still wish I could play a sport and do many such activities.
Hence I urge policymakers and scholars to give importance to this areas and facilitate recreational opportunities for the disabled. However overused this idiom maybe one must always remember “All work and no play makes jack a dull boy."
Subscribe to our weekly newsletters.
Get all our posts, blogs and video content via e-mail.