DEER LAKE — The parents of a special needs child are asking for a little understanding when they take their daughter to the playground to use the inclusion swing.
The swing was installed earlier this year for children with special needs.
Lately, however, when Craig and Karla Halfyard bring 18-month-old Kaitlyn, who has cerebral palsy, to the playground they are finding that others are using the swing that have no disabilities.
They say adults are sitting on the swing with their children, and they are afraid that abusing the swing could result in damage, taking it away from everyone.
"There's a lot of misuse and I think it's just that people don't realize who the swing is really here for," said Karla. "Most people will get out of the swing when they realize, some people just don't understand."
The swing is a large, chair-like object with a protective bar that is pushed down around the occupant, and attached to the overhead crossbar with specially welded chains that contain no sharp edges. Its bright orange colour can make it appealing to all children, and it is large enough to support an adult comfortably.
The swing is adorned with an overhead sign that reads "Inclusion swing: for children with disabilities."
Sometimes when her parents approach people using the swing they think Kaitlyn doesn't actually need it, when in fact she does.
"We'd like for this swing to be here for as long as (Kaitlyn) needs it, we'd like for it to stay in as good a shape as possible for everyone who needs it," said Craig. "Right now this is the only playground in town with a swing like this, so we'd like for it to stay undamaged."
Deer Lake's economic development officer Jason Young, said the town is not interested in barring anyone from using the playground equipment, but common sense should prevail.
"There is an etiquette here, we don't want to limit anyone from using (the equipment), but on a sunny day like this, if it's a full playground, there is other equipment that children and adults can use," he said.
Young said there could be another swing installed at the other playground in Deer Lake in the near future, but until then he said, the town urges respect and understanding among playground users.