Recreational and Leisure Activities

This section of Transition Services looks at the importance of recreational activities for individuals with disabilities and the many options available.

Studies indicate that between 12 and 20 percent of the American population - perhaps 40 million people - have some type of disability. That's a huge segment of U.S. society that historically has been denied access to outdoor recreation - by facilities built with only able-bodied people in mind, by a lack of special equipment and by a lack of special consideration.

In recent years, however, two things have helped open the outdoors to the disabled: First, across the nation there are several nonprofit groups with the mission of improving the quality of life for disabled people by providing opportunities for outdoor recreation, often using specially adapted equipment.

Another door to the outside opened in 1990, when Congress passed the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. It ensures basic civil rights for the disabled, and requires that, on any facility built for public use, reasonable efforts be made to provide access to people with a lack of mobility.

Since then, hundreds of outdoor recreational facilities built with government funds have been designed to make access easier for the wheelchair-bound and people using walkers, canes or crutches.

Armed with the law, activists for disabled access began lobbying state and local agencies for other opportunities. Access for the disabled in the outdoors has multiplied exponentially over the past 10 years with the construction of state and federal projects. In this section you will learn about:

  • The importance of leisure activities
  • Which Activities to Explore
  • Issues for Special Educators
  • Planning for Success
  • The advantages of special leisure programs designed for individuals with disabilities
  • Leisure activity concerns of individuals with disabilities
  • Mastering leisure skill activities

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