Adaptive swings now featured in playgrounds


Parker Ramirez enjoys the new adaptive swing at Kiwanis park in Brookfield (Christine Ramirez).

Mia Bonfiglio, Reporter

When Christine Ramirez would take her 6-year-old son Parker Ramirez to Ehlert park in Brookfield, he was not able to use the swings. Parker was born with hypoplasia of the corpus callosum, causing developmental delays. Parker had to stand back and watch as the other kids swang and laughed.

Although Parker got excited as he watched the other kids swing, Christine felt dejected that he was not able to join his friends. Finally, before Labor Day, a swing was installed that allowed Parker to join in on the fun.

“He loves to go to the park,” Christine said. “Every single day when the weather is nice we are there. He is too big for the baby swing but he doesn’t have the coordination and muscle strength to be able to sit on the adult swing.”

Parker is nonverbal because of his disability and lacks many abilities of kids his age. His development state is currently at about the age of a 2- or 3-year-old.

“Parker is the happiest kid I have ever met,” babysitter Olivia Tuisl ‘19 said. “He’s always laughing or smiling. He has so much energy and loves to play.”

Two adaptive swings were installed right before Labor Day, at Kiwanis and Ehlert parks in Brookfield, the new director of parks and recreation Stevie Ferrari said. The swings are adaptive bucket swings with a harness, which allows for anyone with mobility issues to sit inside the swing and be secure without holding onto the rails, Ferrari said. The swings were about $700 each.

Previously to the installment of the swings, Parker was able to use the adaptive swing at his school in Darien, but was not able to engage at parks near his house. Other moms told Christine about adaptive swings at other parks, so she reached out to the park district to take action.

“At school, they sent me pictures of him in the adaptive swing,” Christine said. “He loved it, so after hearing this and knowing that Parker wants to interact with his friends, I decided to see if I could get something like that for him.”

She called the Park District of Brookfield numerous times throughout the course of the year, but never got a clear response, she said. Finally when summer came, she followed up again to find that the former department head had retired. She was put in contact with Ferrari. After months, two adaptive swings were installed.

“He is now able to sit next to his friends and is so happy to be swinging,” Christine said. “As he swings he looks to the other kids and is excited to be a part of the group.”