Sports, recreation and leisure activities are a part of childhood, but children with disabilities tend to be more restricted in their participation compared to their peers. And the gap increases as they grow older. Since taking part in these activities help in both physical and emotional growth, it is important to seek out ways to include all children.
There are many more opportunities today for children with special needs to become involved in sports. Some children with disabilities may be able to play on a regular team while others may enjoy a team with friendly competition or just the chance to participate.
National Sports Center for the Disabled
American Association of Adapted Sports Programs
Grayson Athletic Association: Special Populations Programs
Sending your child with special needs to a camp for the first time can be a bit scary but it can be beneficial to both you and your child. As a parent you will learn to let go. A camp will help your child build several skills including: gain independence, make new friends, try new things, and build confidence.To find out about Camps available in your area, call Parent to Parent of Georgia at 800-229-2038 and speak to a coordinator.
Considerations for Sending your Child with a Disability to Camp for the First Time
We visited Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, Texas and had a FANTASTIC time! Morgan’s Wonderland is the first ultra accessible amusement park in the world. As you can see by the expression on our faces we enjoyed ourselves. This was the first time Noah was able to go down a slide (it moved fast too). The rides in the park are equipped for wheelchairs, so everyone can ride! They even have wheelchair swings, in addition to typical and other adapted swings. The admission price is beyond reasonable and the differently-abled person gets in free (no matter of age). They have bracelet monitors in the event parent and child get separated they can be easily reunited. There is a sensory village among other park activities. The enthusiasm and joy I felt to be able ‘play’ with Noah and for him to participate with the typically developing children was and still is indescribable. For me, it was a place that created an ‘even playing field’ environment; we weren’t the odd ones or sticking out in the crowd. People don’t stare and the staff are so kind. It was built with the special needs population in mind, yet it truly is a park for ALL abilities!
Find out more about Morgan’s Wonderland.
Recreation is a natural place to include everyone and great place to make friends. You do not have to specifically seek out a “special needs” based activity. You could swim with your child in the community pool, you could go to the local library or check out inclusive programs at your neighborhood YMCA.
Social Inclusion through Recreation
Scouting for Youth with Disabilities Manual
Making Recreational Areas Accessible
Accessible Playgrounds in Georgia
Accessible State and National Parks
Apply for an Access Pass for National Parks
One way to find out about recreational opportunities in your area is to check out your county’s Park, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department. They offer programs ranging from pottery to tennis classes and may have some programs specifically for individuals with special needs.
Marcus Jewish Community Center