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What is Inclusion
Your Child's Rights
Children and youth with disabilities have the right to learn, play, enjoy, and benefit from leisure experiences. There are several laws that support your child's leisure participation in schools and community recreation programming. Chances are you can find overwhelming legal support for including your child in the leisure life of your community. However, keep in mind that successful community inclusion, where individuals with disabilities are treated equally and with value and respect as fellow citizens, can't happen with the threat of a "big stick" (i.e., laws and regulations), but rather in the relationships we build with one another as friends, classmates, co-workers, and neighbors.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 (PL 101-336)The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, passed in 1990 and enacted two years later, is a broadly encompassing civil rights law, which mandates that public and private providers of recreation and leisure services open their doors and programs to include people with disabilities. Title II of the ADA covers services provided by state and local governments (parks and recreation departments, state park facilities). Title III of the ADA covers services provided by a private establishment otherwise known as a "public accommodation," whether it's for-profit businesses (restaurants, amusement parks, stores, arcades) or non-profit organizations (YMCA, scouts, camps). With few exceptions (ex. some private and religious oriented programs), ALL recreation opportunities provided to the public must provide 'reasonable accommodations' (unless to do so would fundamentally alter the program or service) to include citizens with disabilities, young and old, so that they can be afforded the same opportunities to receive the benefits of these services as people without disabilities have come to anticipate and expect.
Reasonable accommodations may include:
Accessibility is about allowing people to experience the activities they enjoy!
Architectural Barriers Act of 1968The Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) requires that buildings and facilities that are designed, constructed, or altered with Federal funds, or leased by a Federal agency, comply with Federal standards for physical accessibility. ABA requirements are limited to architectural standards in new and altered buildings and in newly leased facilities. The activities conducted in those buildings and facilities are not address.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (PL 93-112)Section 504 states that "no qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall be excluded from, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under" any program or activity that either receives Federal financial assistance or is conducted by any Executive agency or the United States Postal Service. Section 504 is a civil rights law that prohibits recipients of federal funds, including money from the U.S. Department of Education, from discriminating on the basis of disability. This law applies to, among other entities, public elementary and secondary schools districts and community recreation facilities and programs. Section 504 is enforced by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and requires school districts to provide the following for its students:
Elementary and Secondary Students:
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1997 Update to IDEA of 2004The Individuals with Disabilities Education (IDEA) Improvement Act (PL 108-446 of 2004) Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires public schools to make available to all eligible children with disabilities a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment appropriate to their individual needs that emphasizes special education and related services.
As a part of this comprehensive law, your child may also be eligible to receive leisure and recreation program services, including leisure education. According to the legislation, the Individualized Education Plan must include for the child:
"special education, related services, supplementary aids and services, program modifications and supports for school personnel to allow the child to advance toward attaining annual goals, be involved and progress in the general curriculum, and participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities and participate with other children."
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Copyright 2006, The Trustees of Indiana University and Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
This online resource has been created through a collaborative project of the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD) with content and design development by the National Center on Accessibility (NCA) and the Indiana University School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. This project is funded through a grant from the Division of Human Development and Disability at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
All rights reserved. No part of this guide may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.