Children with and without disabilities play together because they are children!

“My hope – writes Tonino Urgesi – is that there will come a time when children with and without disabilities will play together, simply because they are children, because they want to meet and interact with each other.” And he adds: “It is not only the architectural barrier that needs to be torn down, but the cultural one, high above a wall. When we e.g. “Speaking of playgrounds, there is a need for a public park for everyone and for everything, in such a way that boys and girls can interact by playing with each other, without the need to include or exclude the other.”

The game is losing its playful functionality, where the child can create his own world, because with a “correct” policy it is forced into a world that already exists, consisting of hypocrisy and false pretenses. forgets the very essence of the game and of play also in relation to those living with disabilities.
I have already tried to tackle this problem, also on the pages of «Superando.it», but I realize that it is necessary to elaborate once again, focusing on new topics, as misunderstandings are always around the corner.

I do not want to express an a priori negative attitude towards the game, which is only intended for children with disabilities, and I am not against the doll (Barbie) in a wheelchair; I’m fine with everything and the opposite of everything, but I ask why and for whom were these games created? To try to create a new inclusion? To involve others? To try to inform society about disability? The reasons can be many, but I do not see a social altruism, a society ready to welcome diversity, “the other different from me”, not only as the disabled, but as “the other who is not me” and who scares us .
It is the society we live in, a society not yet ready to welcome the other’s diversity and too fast to go “to the time of a prosthesis”. To welcome means to stop, wait, listen and become one with each other; instead, we are still here, ready to create puppets with disabilities to teach about disabilities, ready to design inclusive games that have no one to include, under the pretext of educating a society that does not want to be educated “to the other “, a society that will live without thinking.

The game has always played they undergo identification: the boy or girl identifies with the object they are playing with, and the latter introduces them to a thousand worlds, where children are projected into a more true and more authentic form.
We often find this theory in the psycho-pedagogical bibliography supported by various researchers, such as John Dewey, with the terms “fantastic turnover for infantile play”. Another supporter of similar theses was Friedrich Fröbel, who wrote: «The reconciliation between life and form is achieved through play. It consists in the art of overcoming the necessity of the physical world and gaining access to the creative freedom that shapes the sensible world without mechanical purposes’.
Here I try to contextualize these two statements within a playful act of a child with a disability and I refer e.g. dolls and baby dolls with disabilities.
The fact itself certainly does not offend me, however asks questions: By what criterion do the new experts who have created these games support the thesis that the doll in a wheelchair can help the child with a disability to accept their condition? And how would this toy help a little girl become aware of her disability? It’s not because the little girl is playing with a wheelchair and with a doll sitting on it, who exclaims: “How nice, the doll is also in a wheelchair!”. Does not that lead to more anger? It does not create frustration to discover that that doll can be taken out of the wheelchair, her legs can be stretched out and her legs can be put on her feet, which she in turn will never be able to?
If the game really consists, as the aforementioned educators have taught us, in trying to overcome all physical limits, what is a doll in a wheelchair with a deficit? Maybe it would be better and less frustrating for the boy or girl if it appeared could not stand up, like him or her. Even in this sense, however, I do not find the doll in a wheelchair suitable, for children must have one relationships and interaction in playing and inventing from say their gamewho is able to overcome any fear, any difficulty in accepting himself, forming the dimension of one’s personality and identity as a person, in this case, with a disability.
And again: what parent would buy their daughter a doll in a stroller? And which child or “volunteer” child would like a doll with a deficit as a gift? That way, you do not risk it to emphasize once again the pietistic attitude which has characterized the last decades of the relationship between “skilled” and non-“skilled” people?

My wish is that there is a time when children play together because they are childrenbecause they want to meet and interact with each other, and I emphasize that with, which does not create any labeling. Maybe I will be accused of utopia, but utopia allows us to hope and experiment with new theories in this epoch pond as we live day after day.
Boys and girls in their expression through play may seem merciless to us, but in their nature there are no prejudices and an understanding of what can harm or not harm the other. it always depends on the context that surrounds them and educates them. If the child is left free to live his own growth and nature, it will itself seek the other and relate to him, even if the friend is handicapped; That’s how it is the game can become educational and relationalwith the relationship that is the basis for growth and removal of psychological and structural barriers.

This way of playing and playing is also found in so-called inclusive parks being born all over Italy and I could continue my reflection but I also do not want to be misunderstood here. I’m not against this type of game, but those who know me well know that I ask myself a thousand and a thousand questions. The boy or girl with a disability before he needs a park that suits him, I’m sure he has need for a culture where children play with him or her.
I would therefore like to address all the organizations that promote these parks: We train through one “New disability pedagogy” culture along with parks, and with them a new thought aimed at providing parks and games to all. Let’s form a society that no longer needs to “include” or “exclude” anyone, but which is far-sighted in relation to a new “interaction”, and let us build it ourselves, the “way” to get to the park. So we have to educate children through school, playing with each other, invent a game with the partner with a disability, take him / her home to take him / her to the park and not just to the park. The one does not exclude the other and in this way one can try to give life to a completely new, unusual thought and thus educate peers to possibly accompany the friend with a disability and help him to create his own independence, his own autonomy; so yes it will make sense to build the so-called inclusive parks, for it will be the community ready to live “the other” in its needs and in its entirety.

It is not only the architectural barrier that needs to be torn down, but the cultural, high far beyond a wall. We must pay attention to the conditions, because it is they who create thought and culture: it is not the word ‘inclusive’ that is needed, but it is a public park for everyone and for everything; it is not the word “inclusion” that makes the exception, but rather the word “interaction”in such a way that children can interact by playing with each other without the need to include or exclude the other.

Expert in affectivity and sexuality in people living in a disabling context.

Leave a Comment