People with disabilities benefit greatly when they participate in community recreation programs and settings. Like their peers without disabilities, they learn the same leisure skills and behaviors - although sometimes at a different pace and in a slightly different way. Including people with disabilities in community recreation is both a goal and a process. The final outcome of the process is the goal - i.e., people are, in fact, active and accepted participants in community leisure experiences alongside their nondisabled peers. There are many elements of the process that community recreation providers should consider in their efforts to include people with disabilities in program activities and settings.
The essay provides examples of adapting materials and different activities. It also looks at five principles of adaptation which represent tried and true principles when considering the need for and types of adaptations necessary to assure that individuals with disabilities are given every opportunity to have equal access to and benefit from their participation community recreation activities. Addressing each will make certain that recreation program planners and activity leaders are addressing the real needs of participants with disabilities.