TODAY   |  November 10, 2013

Oregon family creates playground for all kids

When one family realized their daughter, who has a rare genetic abnormality, was being left on the sidelines during playtime, they decided it was time for a change. They set out to create a more inclusive world, one playground at a time. TODAY’s Erica Hill reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> reporter: harper rose goldberg was born june 8, 2005 . in that moments her parents' world forever changed .

>> they actually brought in a priest and said we'd like to read her her last rights.

>> reporter: she wasn't breathing. she spent her first month in the nicu before determining she had been born with emanuel syndrome, a rare genetic abnormality.

>> what was the prognosis.

>> we should never expect her to walk or talk in her lifetime. i remember thinking in that moment, how dare they say what we should suggest.

>> like all new parents, each milestone was a reason to celebrate. as their daughter grew, the goldbergs began to notice how limited the world around harper would be.

>> we would take her to the playground and she was getting big and i would go and sit her on the curb on a blanket while the other kids would play.

>> reporter: the solution, build a space where all children could play made for the little girl who inspired it.

>> break some ground!

>> reporter: the project quickly took off as the community rallied around the idea.

>> your initial goal at that point was $200,000. you ended up with a playground that was $1.2 million.

>> people instinctively understood this was going to be a special place.

>> reporter: harper 's playground was designed to be different.

>> what is it about this slide that makes it so special?

>> how wide it is. it's important to have an opportunity for parents to accompany their children side by side .

>> reporter: this particular climbing structure, what makes it more accessible.

>> if harper had a friend and her friend wanted to climb on this, she could still be connected to her and they could still be talking and hanging out together. the adaptive swing allows a child like harper who has outgrown the baby swing to still be swinging.

>> reporter: is this her favorite thing at the playground you think?

>> by far.

>> it's just magic. you see kids of all abilities here playing together. it's beautiful, safe, fun.

>> reporter: what's your favorite thing to do at this park?

>> play in the sand.

>> reporter: as her parents, what do you like about the playground?

>> i love that she can join in with the kids and she's included.

>> reporter: the government mandates public spaces like playgrounds must be accessible, but there's little oversight and no official record of just how many there are across the country. the goldbergs hope harper 's will inspire many more.

>> if we had ten more cody and april goldbergs , who knows what we could do?

>> it's about the concept of including everyone. it's the right thing to do. but when you do it, it's better