Where can I find accessible recreational activities?
Throughout the year, people look to participate in recreational activities. However, where can one find accessible recreation activities? There are plenty of resources available to find them. We have split the resources into four sections so that you can find the specific resources you are looking for: three according to age (children, adults, and seniors) and one for recreational therapists and activities professionals. There are some resources that may apply to all groups.
- Playgrounds - Visit Accessible Playgrounds to get a list of accessible playgrounds in you area. To do so, click on the "US Accessible Playgrounds" tab on the upper left hand portion of the screen and then select your state. They also provide a list of Canadian accessible playgrounds along with information about accessible playgrounds, resources on all aspects of designing and building a playground that goes beyond the ADA, and so on.
- If your son or daughter wants to participate in a competitive sports, then a great place to search for the nearest club to you is the "Find a Program" page of the USA Paralympics website. They also have links to resources. You can also check Wheelchair and Ambulatory Sports, USA (WASUSA) for a list of sanctioned regional events. Also consider your local sports programs, as they may work with your child and offer your child a chance to practice for his/her big events.
- Summer Camp - The Easter Seals has a guide to help parents select an accessible camp. Attached to that guide is a search engine to help parents find an Easter Seals camp or program near them. The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center has a list called Camps for People with Disabilities that contains several different camps and programs that parents can choose from. Family Village also provides a list of camps by state.
- Sport Leagues - The American Association of Adapted Sports Programs, Inc. helps to establish programs, policies, procedures, etc. dealing with interscholastic adapted sports for students with physical disabilities. Check their website to see what sports leagues are part of their programs. You can also visit BlazeSports America, where there is information on camps, training, and support for athletes of all ages.
- Hippotherapy (Horseback riding) - Visiting the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA) to find a therapist or center near you.
- Physical Activities - The National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability (NCHPAD) provides articles, resources, videos, and directories relating to people with disabilities, physical activities, and workout programs. Please speak with your doctor and/or your child's pediatrician before beginning any workout program.
- Hiking - If you are visiting one of our national parks or if you live near one, they all have accessible trails available. The National Parks Service (NPS) has listed the parks and their trails by region (i.e.; Northwest Region, Alaska Region, etc.). They also list accessible opportunities in the National Parks.
- Camping - The National Parks Services provides a list by region of parks with accessible camping. They also provide a list by region of parks with accessible picnic areas.
- Sports - The National Sports Center for the Disabled (NCSD) has summer and winter sports programs available for people with disabilities. Some of their programs include Mountain Programs, Apline Skiing, Metro Programs, Race Teams, Lacrosse, and more. You can also visit Adaptive Adventures where they have programs for children, adults, and veterans. The programs include whitewater rafting, alpine skiing and snowboarding, kayaking, scuba, and rock climbing. Of course, there's always the Paralympics to think about. So visit the Paralympic Games to learn more.
- Sports and Hobbies - Indoored has an article to learn more about sports and hobbies for people with disabilities. The article includes information on adaptive skiing, swimming, paragliding, bird watching, baking, astronomy, and more. Indoored also provides hobby and sports guides for people with disabilities, a guide on for veterans with and without disabilities, information on beekeepong, and more.
- Horseback riding - Hippotherapy centers can be found through PATH International through their Find a Center page.
- Dance - Dance is a fun, multi-generational, family activity. If you are looking for a dance therapist to help you with the fun, please visit the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA). ADTA can help you find a therapist in your area.
- Arts - Another great multi-generational, family activitiy, the arts can range from painting to photograph to music to perform arts and much more. The National Arts and Disability Center (NADC) provides a list of resources that are available in each state.
- Adult Day Centers - These centers are designed to provide care and companionship for seniors who need assistance or supervision during the day. Some of the services provided in these centers include education, exercise, health screening, recreation, socialization, and so on. To learn more about adult centers or to find one near you, please visit Eldercare Locator.
- If your loved one lives in assisted living, long-term care, or in a skilled nursing facility, talk with the facility/center's Activity Director (AD) or Director of Recreational Therapy (RT) about the services they provide. The AD and/or RT are great resources in what is availbale within the center/facility and the community and are more than happy to help you and your family member.
- Community Centers - Depending on where you live, your local communitycenter may provide activities that are accessible to people with disabilities of all ages. If your community does not have a center, then visit Family Village for recreational activity ideas and resources.
Recreational Therapists and Activity Professionals
- Physical Activity and Disability - The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD) provides Monographs and research on different topics relating to physical activities and disability. These monographs include principles for adapting activities in recreation programs and settings, recreation access rights under the ADA, providing inclusive recreation, and the Eden Alternative.
- Recreation Technology Research - RecTec, the NIDRR funded Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC), has several research and development projects dealing with physical activities, recreation, and people with disabilities. They provide publications, training projects, and capacity building.