Glasgow & West Scotland

Girl, 8, writes to council over swing for disabled brother

Naomi and Isaac Gwynne Image copyright Miriam Gwynne
Image caption Naomi Gwynne was disappointed her disabled brother Isaac was unable to use the swing at the park

An eight-year-old girl has accused a council of "forgetting" about her disabled twin brother when it installed new equipment at their local park.

Naomi Gwynne wrote to South Lanarkshire Council after finding her brother Isaac was unable to use the swings.

Both children are autistic and Isaac is visually impaired by a brain tumour and has severe learning difficulties, so he cannot hold on to a normal swing.

The council said it had found a new seat it was hoping to install soon.

Naomi wrote to the authority after visiting the new park near their home in Hamilton and seeing that Isaac could not use the assisted swings as they were too small.

She wrote: "I like the new park but please could you make a disabled swing for it?

"Isaac my twin brother is too big for a baby swing but can't hold on to the bars of the grown up swings.

"His favourite thing is a swing and we are both sad. Why did you forget about him? I have drawn a swing he would like. Thank you."

Image copyright Miriam Gwynne
Image caption Naomi's letter to the council

The twins' mother, Miriam Gwynne, said the children were excited when the park opened on Bothwell Road.

She said: "I was surprised when my daughter asked this weekend if I could help her spell 'disabled' and then she handed me her wonderful letter.

"I was so emotional that she had noticed and cared so much for her twin brother who has such multiple disabilities.

"I was so sad that a brand new park would not be automatically inclusive and so proud of my eight-year-old for standing up for her brother.

"Isaac has complex autism, is non-verbal, has global delay and learning difficulties and NF1 [disorder]. He is also visually impaired and requires a lot of care. But to Naomi he is simply her brother who deserves to play and swing as much as anyone else."

'Heartfelt letter'

Mrs Gwynne, 40, posted her daughter's message on Twitter, calling for people to share it.

South Lanarkshire Council has responded to Mrs Gwynne.

The authority's head of facilities, waste and grounds services, Alistair McKinnon, said: "All new play areas are designed to incorporate an element of inclusive play. The overall aim is to allow children of all abilities to play together and present a range of experiences and challenges.

"There are six of the 15 items in the newly refurbished play area at Bothwell Road which are classified as inclusive by the manufacturer.

"However, following the heartfelt letter from Naomi and a review of provision in surrounding play parks, we have been able to source a seat which we think may be suitable for Isaac and are looking to have it installed as soon as possible."

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