Recreation in the Community

The Institute for Community Inclusion has created a very detailed guide for increasing inclusion in community recreation. The guide includes:

  • outreach and advertising tips;
  • modifications for activities;
  • strategies for staff training;
  • cooperative sports and games; and
  • ideas for facilitating friendships.


Frequent contact with community members has far-reaching positive effects, including creating trust between providers and families, and providing avenues to address problems, and celebrate successes. Here are some ways to open the channels of communication:

  • schedule a staff person to be available during drop-off or pick-up times to answer parents' questions;
  • encourage families to call by providing the organization's phone number on the application and permission slips;
  • encourage families to visit during program operation;
  • ask a person with a disability if modifications are needed;
  • demonstrate that each participant is valued and respected by speaking directly to the person, not about him, and asking about for preferences; and
  • clearly communicate in advertising that your program welcomes people of all abilities and cultures so that people with disabilities don’t assume your program is like others that have consistently turned them away.

Here are some suggestions to promote full participation:

  • allow freedom to participate in activities without direct adult supervision;
  • choose games that emphasize cooperation, not competition;
  • create an application form that clearly invites people of all abilities to join;
  • hire staff who are committed to a philosophy of working with all youth; and
  • add questions to the job application or during the interview process about including individuals of different abilities into recreation options. 

This guide also offers detailed advice on areas such as hiring and training staff and modifying specific games like basketball, volleyball and T-ball, and how to encourage and support friendships to grow through the organization.

To read the guide in its entirety, click here