Mountwood Academy caters for young people with varying degrees of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), aged between 8-25 years. As the academy specialises in ASD, many of the young people who attend require an outlet for physical activity that also presents a challenge.
The brief outlined requirements for the provision of different pieces of play equipment which were challenging, and required high levels of energy and stamina, but which would also be suitable for young people of adult stature.
An existing tarmac playground with no play provision was transformed into an immersive environment designed to stimulate the senses and engage the young people at the academy in energetic play.
Sutcliffe Play worked closely with the academy to tailor the equipment to sensitively meet the specific needs of the young people who were to use the play area. This included the use of different materials (timber and metal) and fulfilling the requirement for adult height monkey bars, which was deemed essential; as was the need for a slide and climbing generally.
At the centre of the new play area, the Mission Venture unit provides a full body work out. Testing strength and agility in order to reach the 1.8m central platform, users must swing from hanging rings, negotiate the twisted spider net, traverse across the wall, or climb the pull up ramp. Complementing Mission Venture, the Orchard Teepee from Sutcliffe Play’s environmentally friendly wooden range offers additional challenges with three ways to race to the top, and a horizontal net providing a level to sit on or climb over to reach the other side.
Interactive ‘Noughts & Crosses’ and ‘Dice Spin’ play panels are accompanied by a water table and coloured thermoplastic floor graphics inlayed with games, to further stimulate the senses while encouraging play and social engagement.
Inclusive play equipment completes the new play area, including a sensory flower; which offers sound and optical sensory play, and a nest swing. Designed specially to take several young people with special needs, the nest swing is designed like a bird’s nest and constructed of steel rope matting to offer additional support for users.