Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the first sensory-friendly, all-inclusive playground in the City of Amsterdam. Assemblyman Santabarbara secured $450,000 for the new playground, which will be located at the Barkley School in the Greater Amsterdam School District (GASD). Inclusive playgrounds are designed to fulfill this critical step in children with and without disabilities alike by offering play experiences for a variety of needs and interests. Assemblyman Santabarbara was joined by City of Amsterdam Mayor Michael Cinquanti and Superintendent Richard Ruberti.
“Playtime is an essential part of a child’s development that all children, regardless of their ability, deserve,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. “This new park will ensure children with disabilities in our community have a safe, welcoming place to play. As the father of a son with autism, I know how important a project like this is and how much this means to local families.” “Providing children with enriching forms of playing is proven to be an essential part of their cognitive, social, emotional and physical development,” added Assemblyman Santabarbara. “Inclusive playgrounds are designed to fulfill this critical step in children with and without disabilities alike by offering play experiences for a variety of needs and interests. In addition to providing more children with disabilities a safe place to play, these structures can also help foster acceptance and empathy in children from a young age.” “The new Barkley School playground will provide a welcoming space for all and ensure all our children feel accepted, loved and respected,” said Assemblyman Santabarbara.
“The sensory friendly apparatus to be located in this new playground will fill a critical gap that currently exists in our City's recreational resources,” said City of Amsterdam Mayor Michael Cinquanti. “Now, thanks to the advocacy of Angelo Santabarbara our community's beloved population of special needs children will have a play space that accommodates their needs.”
“Inclusive playgrounds welcome children of all ages and abilities to play, learn and grow together,” said GASD Superintendent of Schools Richard Ruberti. “As a school district, providing opportunities for inclusive play ensures that all our students experience the benefits of physical, cognitive, social and emotional development. That is why we are so appreciative for Assemblyman Santabarbara and the state funding needed to purchase this adaptive playground equipment for the City of Amsterdam here at Barkley Elementary School and we look forward to many years of smiling faces because of it.”
Assemblyman Santabarbara has long been an advocate for the disability community and has passed numerous laws and secured funding to foster equality and make our communities more inclusive for all. In 2020, he partnered with Ellis Hospital to create the state’s first sensory-friendly emergency room and secured budget funding for the initiative, which is designed to better support patients with autism and other developmental disabilities.