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Research in Outdoor Education

Abstract

Due to the national movement in the 1970s to de-institutionalize individuals with dis­abilities, the vast majority of these children live with their families in community settings; how­ever, the recreation opportunities for these fami­lies to participate together in community spon­sored programs may be limited. There are many programs for children with disabilities, but few are designed for the entire family when one or more children have a disability. Shifting the fo­cus from the individual with the disability to the entire family can support and enrich the intrinsic strengths that already exist in the family (Clapp & Rudolph, 1993; Dunst, Trivette, Starnes, Hamby & Gordon, 1993; Lakin, 1998; Turnbull & Turnbull, 1997), which can create pathways toward the social inclusion of the family to the greater community. Family support and commu­nity human service programs are recognizing this and beginning to recommend incorporating inclusive, family-centered recreation opportuni­ties for the entire family into community pro­gram philosophy and practice (Dunst, et al., 1993; Lakin, 1998; Orthner, 1998). The purpose of this research was to identify the benefits and components of an inclusive family outdoor rec­reation program. The participating families in this study identified the programmatic compo­nents that contributed to their successful involvement.

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