Perceptions of People With Disabilities and Their Families about Segregated and Inclusive Recreation Involvement


  • Whitney E. Mayer
  • Lynn S. Anderson


inclusive recreation, inclusion, special recreation, recreation for people with disabilities, therapeutic recreation, segregated programs, specialized recreation, inclusive recreation involvement


The purpose of this study was to understand the perceptions of people with disabilities and their families about involvement in inclusive and segregated recreation programming. Many in the field have promoted inclusive services over segregated services, pointing out that segregated services are “separate but not equal” (Snow, 2013b, p. 1). Despite the promotion and expansion of inclusive services, segregated programs persist in numerous service settings and people with disabilities and their families continue to use these services. When the benefits of inclusion are well documented, why do people with disabilities and their families continue to participate in segregated services? In this qualitative study, a purposeful sample of 15 individuals with varying disabilities was interviewed. Results showed that people with disabilities and their families chose segregated recreation programs for the program structure, such as competition level and skill development. The exclusiveness of segregated programs was viewed negatively. The role that support systems play in the choice between segregated or inclusive programs emerged as a significant theme, and the influence of supports appeared to be a strong determinant in whether participants were involved in segregated or inclusive recreation. Social relationships and other benefits such as physical activity were important to participants. It is important for service professionals to provide information on inclusive programs and supports. 



Research Papers