Impact Feature Issue on Social Inclusion Through Recreation for Persons with Disabilities

Identifying Individual Recreation Interests (sidebar)

When choosing recreation activities, children, youth and adults with disabilities may need to first spend some time identifying what it is they would like to do. Here are some things to consider to increase the likelihood that an individual will have a positive recreation experience:

  • Make Use of Informal Surveys/Interviews. Based upon what you know about a person, develop an informal interview/survey you can use with them that will provide you with information with respect to the types of recreational activities they might like to try. For persons who have only emerging communication skills, a set of pictures of people engaging in various recreation activities that requires only a pointing response or eye gaze can be used.
  • Take a Tour. Often the best way to support persons with disabilities in identifying their recreational preferences is to assist them to actually engage in programs in which they might be interested for a short “trial” period. Taking individuals on a “tour” of programs in which they have already indicated some interest and allowing them to experience the program, setting, and other participants is one avenue through which this can be accomplished.
  • Develop a Person-Centered Plan. Bring together the child or adult with a disability, those individuals who are part of his or her “circle of support,” and a professional who is capable of facilitating a person-centered plan. As part of the planning process you will learn a host of things about the focus person that will be valuable in helping to find a recreational experience that reflects their interests and meets their needs.
  • Consider Previous Enjoyable Experiences. But don’t stop there. Consider entirely new things, as well.