Agency Readiness to Provide Inclusive Recreation and After-School Services for Children With Disabilities
Keywords:Agency Readiness, Attitudes and Beliefs about Inclusion, Inclusion Training
AbstractThe adoption of proven practices in inclusion of persons with disabilities in community recreation programs is inconsistent, and, as a result, there continue to experience many barriers to participation. One method for increasing the prevalence of inclusive community recreation programs is the provision of training and technical assistance directed to community recreation agency personnel who lack knowledge and experience with inclusion. This evaluation focused on the views of principal players who participated in a multi-agency inclusion program specifically designed to provide such assistance to community recreation providers and families of children and youth with disabilities as well as developing a cadre of trained "leisure companions" available to accompany children and youth to programs. Following their involvement, all key player groups supported the inclusion process, yet indicated that they would have liked more disability training. Leisure companions employed directly through the inclusion program were more confident in their training and abilities than coaches and instructors from community programs. Community program supervisors were not as confident in the inclusion companions' abilities compared to the perceptions of coaches and parents of the inclusion companions' abilities. Future research is needed to identify: (a) the specific inclusion training needs of key players, (b) the specific disabilities that key players define as "mild disabilities" and those disabilities perceived as "severe," and (c) reasons for supervisors holding lower perception to the benefits of inclusive recreation services for their agencies.
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