We dedicate this playground in loving memory of our daughter, Courtney Ann Triana, so families with disabilities may enjoy the outdoors as she did.
—Love, Dad Greg, Mom Joanne, Brother Greg Jr.
About Courtney's Playground
Manufactured and designed by GameTime®, this inclusive play destination thoughtfully supports the physical, social-emotional, cognitive, sensory, and communicative needs of all children. As a National Demonstration Site, it meets the evidence-based best practices of the 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design® to ensure that both physical and social inclusion can occur at the highest level. The inclusive playground is 1,834 square feet; the music area is 574 square feet.
- Full, Accessible Rubber Surfacing. Resilient, unitary surfacing flush to the surrounding grade provides accessible routes of travel throughout every area of the play space
- Ramped Structure. Ramps increase usability for people of all ages and abilities and allow individuals utilizing mobility device physical access to meaningful play!
- Rock N Raft. This unique play feature ensures individuals using mobility devices can enjoy a sensory-rich rocking experience with friends/family
- Inclusive Whirl. Universally designed with zero-entry to support cooperative and social play, this spinning activity is for everyone!
- Musical instruments. Music offers developmentally appropriate opportunities for intergenerational users to express their creativity and contribute to the sounds of the environment
Courtney’s Story (in her own words)
I was born on August 16, 1991, in Lancaster, California and was a happy-go-lucky outgoing girl. I loved the outdoors, school, soccer, baseball, music, dancing, and my friends.
On November 24, 2001, when I was 10 yrs. old our lives changed. I was in a terrible accident. I spent three years in the hospital, first at AV Hospital and then I was flown to UCLA. I later transferred to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) for rehab. I spent most of my time between CHLA and Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in subacute care. My parents stayed with me in the beginning at Ronald McDonald House, and then my family traveled back and forth to visit me. I came home two times for visits while hospitalized with a nurse from hospital: first for my brother’s First Holy Communion, and then for my sixth-grade graduation in 2002 so I could see my friends. I also got to see my doggie Cinnamon and my birdie Tweety.
In 2003 my family was bound and determined to bring me home. They didn’t want me to live in subacute care for all my life like some kids there do. My parents found a bigger house and hired nurses to help take care of me. I came home in November 2003 with a tracheotomy and a G-tube. In 2005 we worked on getting my tracheotomy out. I didn’t like it and tried popping it out, making my mom nervous. It was finally removed. I kept my G-tube to get my formula and all my medication until I could eat again on my own. In 2006 my parents gave me real food, my favorite mint and chip ice cream. I loved it. My parents worked with me so that I could eat real food. I started out with baby food and then my mom started making me real food and pureeing it. My mom even tried to puree my favorite foods, pizza and In-n-Out.
In 2007 we bought a motorhome because we couldn’t use our tent anymore. When we were on school breaks, we would travel the great states of the USA. We visited 28 states while I was alive, visiting family, friends, national parks, and baseball stadiums for my brother. I even got to go on a cruise to Alaska. I loved our motorhome, and they towed my car so we could visit places in each state. The USA is a beautiful country. My family is trying to finish all 50 states in my honor.
My parents tried to find many resources for me so I could be as normal as possible. We learned about a convention called the Abilities Expo in Los Angeles. We went every year and found things and ideas to benefit me. At one expo my parents were looking for some way for me to communicate other than eye blinking, which I was using. We found a place called Words Plus that was right here in Palmdale, and they set me up with a device. Words Plus set me up with therapy through Dynamic Therapy Solutions (DTS). I learned how to use my device. I was in a group at DTS with other kids and adults using a device. We loved to talk to each other. We got homework to practice and came back each week to show what we learned. We went out in the community, especially to the AV Mall and the AV Fair where we used our devices. I also used my device in high school and on outings with my school. My parents cried as I got better and better because now, I could communicate. We also did art class once a month at DTS with Chad and Amber. We learned how to paint, and Chad would add things to our paintings. We were in art shows at the Palmdale Playhouse.
In 2010, I was asked by DTS to join a drama club. Helping Everyone Reach Optimal Success (HEROS) is a charity event in the AV where we put on a play using our devices and showed how the devices work. Our friends from the Palmdale Playhouse, Steve and Linda Willis, taught us how to act. The goal of the plays was to show how we can all communicate. I was in The Wizard of Oz as the bad witch, in Beauty and the Beast as the dresser, and in Jungle Book as the elephant. My last play was Peter Pan; I was supposed to play one of the Lost Kids. I didn’t make it to that one. I passed away a week before our performance. The show must go on and they did it in honor of me. My helper even did my part with my device. HEROS is a great charity. They have honored a teacher, fireman, and a Sheriff. Each one of our special people gives a device to someone in need so they can learn to communicate like us. I loved doing them. I was also in a drama class at the Palmdale Playhouse with my friends with special needs.
I also got to play soccer again on a special needs soccer team offered by AYSO where a volunteer buddy pushed me around while I tried to kick the ball. Thank-you Jason and Kim, for being my buddies. Thanks to coach Mike Men for volunteering his time to coach us. Thank-you to my family for volunteering my brother’s help as a buddy and as a coach — he continued coaching after I passed. My parents were team parents for our team. We loved our soccer family.
My brother was very involved in all my activities, and he loved helping whenever he could. His high school, Paraclete, put on a special needs dance every year and my brother volunteered. We made many friends.
I went to school when I came home. I went to Buena Vista then Highland for high school. I went to my prom with Cody, a family friend who I loved. I graduated with my class and the friends I grew up with in 2009. I continued high school until I turned 21.
I loved to swim and be outdoors. My parents put a lift in our pool so I could get in and out. I hated getting out. I went for walks in my wheelchair. I went on bike rides on my special bike.
On October 14, 2014, it was time for me to go to heaven and I passed away peacefully at home.