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Research in Outdoor Education

Abstract

When inclusive programming is to be offered in an outdoor adventure context, and attempts are made to welcome individuals who present disability issues that make accommodation unusually challenging, the obstacles to program success can begin to look insurmountable. Research indicates there are a number of benefits realized through participation in inclusive outdoor adventure programs (McAvoy, Schatz, Stutz, Schleien, & Lais, 1989; Anderson, Schleien, McAvoy, Lais, & Seligman, 1997; McAvoy, 2001). There has been a paucity of research focused on persons with cognitive disabilities in outdoor programs that typically go on camping excursions into wilderness or wilderness-like natural areas rather than staying in a developed camp facility. The limited research available does show that benefits can be realized through outdoor adventure programs that include persons with cognitive disabilities (Newman, 2004). Recognizing the need for further study in this area, the primary purpose of this research was to assess participant growth in social/socialization and leisure skill functioning of persons with cognitive disabilities relative to participation in a modified inclusive outdoor adventure program. The study used the Peterson and Stumbo (2000) Leisure Ability Model as a conceptual foundation for assessing programmatic outcomes.

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