Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Therapeutic Recreation: Rides into the Futures

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Therapeutic Recreation: Rides into the Futures

Article excerpt

Athletes of all abilities want to be included in general programming, to participate in recreation activities relating to their personal interest, not their perceived physical limits.

The National Sports Center for the Disabled, based in Winter Park, Colo., is one of the largest providers of adaptive recreation in the world, offering nearly 28,000 lessons annually in a variety of sports. The center is no longer alone in providing recreation; all across the country people with disabilities are sailing, scuba diving, golfing, cycling, mountain climbing, and snowboarding.

This wasn't always the case, however. In the 1970s, most recreation therapists worked in clinical settings - hospitals and nursing homes. These are the settings in which people with disabilities found most of their recreation opportunities. Today, therapists and people with disabilities have more options and are turning to community resources, such as park and recreation departments or private programs, to provide recreation for individuals with disabilities. ",

As managed care began to change rehabilitation, other institutions that children with disabilities were becoming smaller as some children were main-- streamed into classes with their able-bodied peers. Mental health hospitals began sending patients into group homes. As perceptions of people with disabilities began to change, people with special needs were turning more and more frequently to their communities to provide services once sought from institutions.

Today's professionals are going beyond specialized programs for those with disabilities, realizing that a sense of accomplishment in recreation can help people with disabilities generalize success to other areas of their lives, such as work, school, or parenthood.

As the trend of providing community-based recreation for people with disabilities continues to grow, the private sector is beginning to realize the significance of a market of 52 million Americans. …

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