Vision Australia supports Wollongong Council in accessible playground initiative

12 December 2019

A Wollongong playground has been made more accessible and inclusive to people who are blind or have low vision thanks to a new braille sign.

Wollongong City Council this week unveiled the new sign at Luke’s Place playground in Corrimal. The sign includes a map with park features identified in braille and high-contrast colours.

The sign also features a braille alphabet to help educate the wider community about how braille conveys written text.

Wollongong City Council consulted with Vision Australia during the design of the sign and Vision Australia paediatric occupational therapist Hannah Sutherland said initiatives like this are welcome.

“Playgrounds are a place that should be inclusive for all children and their families and the sign at Luke’s Place is something that fosters that,” Hannah said.

“The sign means children who are blind or have low vision can independently identify what’s in the playground and it also means that parents and carers who are blind or have low vision can also understand their surroundings.”

A woman stands next to two young children in front of a sign in a playground
Caption: Vision Australia paediatric occupational therapist Hannah with clients Liam and Isaac in and the braille sign.

Hannah said playgrounds provide an important social outlet for all children, but are also important in helping children, including those with blindness or low vision, to develop their communication, social and motor skills.

Luke’s Place playground is specially designed to allow children of all abilities to enjoy it. It features the region’s first wheelchair accessible carousel that can be used by children of all abilities. It also offers colour-coded, textured sections for children with low vision, areas where deaf children or children with limited hearing can interact with noise and vibration as well as active and quiet zones.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor Cr Gordon Bradbery AM said the braille sign is exciting as it further increases the accessibility of the playground.

“We’ve not heard of another children’s playground where you have a sign that helps children who are blind or have low vision. Council’s staff in Community Development worked closely with Vision Australia and a specific sign maker in Taree on this project.”

Two young boys use their hands to explore a braille sign
Caption: Vision Australia clients Isaac and Liam explore the braille sign.
Image: Wollongong City Council