Inclusive Recreation

Mission Statement
The Waltham Recreation Department is committed to providing high quality programs that meet the needs of our diverse population.  The programs are accessible to all people and offer sports and leisure activities that promote a healthy and active lifestyle.  The Recreation Department plays an integral role in the design and construction of all City of Waltham playgrounds, water play facilities, athletic fields, and park improvements.

Inclusive Recreation

The Waltham Recreation Department provides quality, flexible programs, services and supports which maximize independence, foster inclusion, and build community connections. Recreation programs and opportunities help to improve quality of life as well as improve and maintain physical and psychological health and well-being.  (Program offerings include; afterschool sports and movement, arts, drama, science and nature.  Out of School recreational activities are held afterschool, school vacation breaks and throughout the summer.) 

Inclusive recreation programs offer opportunities for individuals to socialize and participate together in non-threatening environments and activities. Inclusive recreation takes place when individuals of all abilities participate in a recreational activity together in an attempt to decrease barriers to leisure by utilizing adaptations and programming accommodations. The benefits of inclusive recreation are not limited to the individuals with disabilities. Individuals without disabilities benefit from inclusive recreation as well.

The Waltham Recreation Department is pleased to offer inclusive services to people of all ages who choose to participate in general recreation programs.  We will work with the participant and family to help implement accommodations designed to provide the most successful recreation experience for all participants.  Minimum eligibility requirements (i.e. grade and pre-registration) must be met in order to participate.

Inclusion Services 

  • The full and active participation of individuals with disabilities in the same community activities as individuals’ without disabilities. 
  • Providing individuals with reasonable accommodations that will enhance their recreational experience
  • Integrating individuals into typical recreation activities to stimulate the greatest amount of enjoyment and participation. 
  • Providing positive recreation experiences which contribute to the growth and development of every individual.

Accommodations

Some examples of reasonable accommodations:

  • An enhanced staff/participant ratio
  • Adaptive activity supplies
  • Advance copy of program schedule
  • Assistance with transitioning between activities
  • Modified program times to focus on successful program engagement

The minimum requirements which apply to a participant without a disability also apply to a participant with a disability. These include: 

  • Meeting the grade requirements of the program
  • Following rules of conduct (with and without reasonable accommodation)
  • Voluntary participation; recreation programs and activities are voluntary in nature.
  • Participation will be encouraged and aided, but not forced.
  • Level of participation; with or without reasonable accommodations, the participant will engage in scheduled activities for the majority of the time. 
  • Ability to use a consistent form of communication to indicate basic needs and follow simple directions. 

The purpose of Inclusive Recreation is to assist an individual in developing and implementing a health balanced leisurely lifestyle.  Waltham Recreation Department supports and encourages inclusion services for people of all ages who choose to participate in general recreation programs.  Please contact the Recreation Department at 781-314-3475 for more information. 

 

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Additional resources for recreational programs for individuals with disabilities within the Greater Boston Area:

Opportunities for Inclusion https://www.oppsforinclusion.org/
Click the link for their seasonal brochure

Newton Athletes Unlimited http://www.newtonathletesunlimited.org/

Belmont- Watertown S.P.O.R.T.S. https://www.belmont-ma.gov/recreation-division/pages/belmont-sport

Partners for Youth with Disabilities https://www.pyd.org/

Greater Massachusetts Special Needs Events http://www.spedchildmass.com/special-needs-recreation-disability-autism-aspergers-massachusetts/

Recreation Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities https://disabilityinfo.org/fact-sheet-library/recreation/recreation-opportunities-for-people-with-disabilities/

National Alliance on Mental Health - Massachusetts https://namimass.org/

State of Massachusetts Resources for Families - Autism https://www.mass.gov/service-details/resources-for-families-autism

Easterseals – Massachusetts http://www.easterseals.com/ma/our-programs/recreation/adapted-swim-program.html