By C. Amber Havens
What's worse? Planning a great outing with your family and friends at the local bowling alley only to find out that you can't get your wheelchair to the lanes or educating the owner of the local bowling alley about your disability and the accommodations you are entitled to by law, as a person who has the right to bowl? While finding out that a recreational hotspot is not accessible and doing nothing about it is a daily event for some people - others are taking the matter into their own hands to become their own advocate, to fight for what is legally theirs and to educate a public that often turns its eyes away from the civil rights movement of the disability community.
by Tip Ray, M.Ed., CTRS
We know through research, anecdotal evidence, and personal experience that people with disabilities benefit greatly when they participate in community recreation programs and settings. Like their peers who may not have disabilities, they learn how to make choices, take turns, follow directions, and share and perform as a team. They learn the same leisure skills and behaviors-although sometimes at a different pace and in a slightly different way. From their peers, they gain respect, are appreciated, are accepted, and, oftentimes, become friends. They learn how to play and have fun in the same activities and places where their peers hangout, and play and have fun.