To offer meaningful and rewarding recreation activities that support social
inclusion for participants with disabilities, recreation programs must attend
to several features:
Accessibility. Accessibility involves far more than whether
a ramp is available to enter a building or restrooms are physically accessible.
Accessible programs are affordable and allow persons with a variety of disabilities
full access to all aspects of the physical and social environment. They encourage
full participation by persons with varying abilities and provide supports
and accommodations (e.g., ASL interpreters, Braille instructions).
Cross-Cultural Competence. People with disabilities come
from all cultural and ethnic groups. Programs that demonstrate an appreciation
of cultural diversity and offer activities that take into account the differing
cultural values of participants with respect to disability, inclusion, and
recreational participation are a good bet for fostering inclusive relationships.
Socially Valued by Peers. If a recreational program is
to be effective in enhancing social inclusion, it must be based upon a set
of activities that are valued by individuals’ cultural and peer groups.
Activities that are rarely engaged in by same-age peers are a poor choice
if one’s goal is inclusion.
Support of Social Connections. Programs and activities
that facilitate inclusion are structured in ways that support social interaction.
Activities that are cooperative/ collaborative, emphasize teamwork, and offer
individuals a chance to share information about themselves provide a starting
point for the development of social relationships. If such opportunities are
not available during program participation, it is important to know whether
they are available either immediately prior to or following program activities.
Citation: Gaylord, V., Lieberman, L., Abery, B. & Lais, G. (Eds.). (2003). Impact: Feature Issue on Social Inclusion Through Recreation for Persons with Disabilities, 16(2) Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration. Available from http://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/162.