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An Ecological Assessment Inventory to Facilitate Community Recreation Participation by Severely Disabled Individuals

Nicholas J. Certo, Stuart J. Schleien, Dawn Hunter


Severely disabled individuals have long been systematically excluded from actively participating in normalized recreationlleisure activities in integrated community settings. Severely disabled individuals should be taught functional and age appropriate skills, based upon the performance characteristics of nonhandicapped peers. In order to present this position, typical assumptions of leisure skill instruction for severely disabled individuals are discussed and opposing points of view are presented. Finally, the article presents a concrete strategy, or inventory) that is divided into three interrelated areas including: skill selection and skill/facility description) component skills and adaptations for full/partial participation, and supportive skills. The inventory can be used by therapeutic recreation specialists and other educators to develop functional, age appropriate leisure skill instructional content. It is expected that this approach, coupled with longitudinal planning, will facilitate the provision of opportunities for severely disabled individuals to actively participate in normalized recreation/leisure skills in integrated community settings.


ecological assessment; leisure skills; therapeutic recreation; community-based; mainstreaming; severely disabled

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