Integrating Children With Severe Handicaps Into Recreation and Physical Education Programs


  • Stuart J. Schleien
  • Karen D. Olson
  • Nancy C. Rogers
  • Margaret E. McLafferty


Autism, community-based, integration, mainstrearning, mental retardation, multihandicapped, naturalistic inquiry, physical education, playground, severely handicapped, therapeutic recreation


Normalization stresses the delivery of services in environments and under circumstances that are as culturally normal as possible. Accordingly, services for handicapped persons should include a broad array of activities available to most residents of a community. Integration with nonhandicapped peers may lessen the social isolation experienced by many handicapped persons and provides more positive role models than handicapped-only programs. This study reports the procedures and results of four pilot investigations that attempted to answer the question of whether severely handicapped children could successfully participate in integrated community recreation and physical education programs. Without additional costs, staff training, or special modifications, severely handicapped children and youth successfully participated in the daily programs. Reports recorded via a naturalistic inquiry methodology and pre-post attitude survey revealed a positive change regarding nonhandicapped peers and staff willingness to include handicapped individuals into future community recreation and physical education programs. Based upon these studies' findings, suggestions for future integrated community recreation efforts are made.





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