Recreation and leisure providers are ideally placed in the community to enhance the health, wellness and quality of life of people with disabilities but their full potential in this regard has yet to be realised (Dattilo, 2002; Stumbo & Pegg, 2004; Stumbo, Pegg, & Lord, 2008). Many authors have noted that leisure experiences and participation provide unique and valuable opportunities that may result in a variety of positive physical, social and psychological benefits, as well as enhance one's overall quality of life (Payne, 2002). When people with disabilities participate in leisure experiences, they obtain benefits on a par with their non-disabled counterparts. However, in order for these benefits to be realised by people with disabilities, leisure and recreation services must be both accessible and inclusive (Anderson & Brown Kress, 2003; Dattilo, 2002). To date, a number of authors have been critical of the lack of accessible and inclusive leisure services and the resultant reduced participation rates of individuals with disabilities (Darcy, 2001; Dattilo, 2002; Devine & McGovern, 2001; Edwards, 1995; Kennedy & Smith, 1990; Schleien & Ray, 1988). When leisure services are inadequate or absent, the potential of the leisure experience for these individuals remains elusive (Darcy, 2001). The purpose of this paper therefore is to demonstrate that a significant number of individuals across the globe do have disabling conditions and that their involvement in leisure and recreation services is often variable at best. As such, an exploration of the nature of accessible and inclusive leisure and recreation services is deemed warranted, as is the effort to detail the diverse range of benefits that people with disabilities may derive from such services. The paper then concludes with a discussion of some of the basic guidelines for the proper provision of accessible and inclusive leisure services.
- Accessible services
- Benefits of leisure participation
- Inclusive services
- People with disabilities