Durham students get wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round


Benjamin Dyer (15) tries out Durham Road School’s new playground.
Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d472642
Benjamin Dyer (15) tries out Durham Road School’s new playground. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d472642

STUDENTS with disabilities at Durham Road School now have access to a wheelchair accessible merry-go-round funded by community groups.

Despite being wary of spinning too fast and getting dizzy, Benjamin Dyer (15), one of about 40 students with wheelchairs at the special needs school, said he was exited when the Ability Whirl was installed because he did not get left behind anymore.

“The Ability Whirl is fun because it lets me spin around which I can’t do in my chair normally. It also lets me and my friends have fun together and I have also made some new friends,” he said.

The equipment was introduced to the school last year after parent Debbie Killian and her daughter Hayley tried one at Woodbridge Park.

School corporate services manager Sharon Whiteford said the Ability Whirl was one of the only pieces of mechanical playground equipment the school had.

“It is a really good tool for de-stressing, helping anxiety and can also be used as a behaviour management reward,” she said.

Principal Linda Lane said students who had used the equipment were engaged in ways expressing joy and delight that teachers have not seen before, which was “gorgeous” to see.

“They love it, even our most disabled children,” Ms Lane said.

The Ability Whirl cost about $50,000, of which $23,000 was donated by community groups including City of Bayswater, Rotary Club of Morley, Morley Lions Club and Maylands MLA Lisa Baker. The remaining funds were raised by the school and its Parents and Citizens Association.