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Australian ‘e-Playground’ For Children of All Abilities

Memory-improvement games and an activity allowing children to create their own music are two of the games in a new free online play environment for children with special needs and disabilities.

The All Abilities ePlayground was created by the Australian arm of Sonokids, an international non-profit organisation developing technology for disabled people. It was commissioned by Gold Coast City Council in Queensland, Australia, with the state’s Department of Communities (Disability Services).

Access features include a ‘function for children with limited motor skills who can blow into a microphone to control games; and a ‘single switch’ control for children who are only able to use a single button on a computer.

The platform is based on the objectives behind 17 outdoor ‘All Abilities’ playgrounds built by councils across Queensland, as part of a government project.

Phia Damsma, creative director of Sonokids Australia, told E-Access Bulletin the ePlayground was designed to be as inclusive as possible. “In addition to more traditional devices like keyboards, mice and joysticks, the ePlayground is tailored for use with touch screens and low-tech assistive technologies”, Damsma said.

The ePlayground received positive feedback after being tested by special schools and special education units throughout Queensland, and it is hoped funding will be found for further development including personalising the platform to offer relevant local educational information, said Damsma.

“The current ePlayground introduces children to iconic Australian animals such as kangaroos, pelicans and crocs. We invite requests for Sonokids to localise and customise the ePlayground’s design concept to suit other countries, languages and cultures”, she said.


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