One option for assistance is that a personal care assistant (P.A.) can accompany the person with a disability and help as needed. P.A.s cannot be charged fees for accompanying an individual with a disability.
Many fitness professionals and adaptive recreation professionals are employed by fitness centers, pools, and communities to provide knowledgeable assistance. In some communities, volunteers are available at gyms, pools, and facilities to help with transfers, operating equipment, and assisting in other ways as needed. Sometimes, recreation therapy students or adaptive recreation students provide assistive services as part of their educational training. Staffers are also taking advantage of continuing education workshops being offered nationwide on a variety of disability issues.
Another option is to request an inclusion aide. An inclusion aide will assist the person with a disability so that he or she may fully participate in existing recreation or leisure programs. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that all programs and services for people with disabilities must be provided in the most integrated setting possible.
When parents register their child for a class or program, they need to indicate on the registration form that their child has a disability that requires an accommodation. An assessment will be given and a decision will be made to determine if an inclusion aide is needed. The inclusion plan will contain the reasonable modification needed for participation.
Hopefully, more and more facilities like Crosstrainers Fitness Forum in Michigan, which is owned and operated by persons with disabilities, will emerge. Adapted programs and camps rely extensively on trained personnel and volunteers to provide safe, accessible, and rewarding recreational experiences. Through these opportunities, children can connect with others with similar disabilities as well.