Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Recreation Programs Foster Inclusion

It's all about playing together. That's the philosophy of special recreation inclusion efforts integrating those with special needs into mainstream park programs.
That's good news for kids like Laney and Leah Myers, 6-year-old twin soccer players from Naperville, and Jimmy Bonta, a budding 6-year-old arts and crafts enthusiast who delights in sharing time with neighborhood peers in Roselle Park District's after-school care program.
But for Tammy Kerrins, Western DuPage Special Recreation Association manager of inclusion and certified therapeutic recreation specialist, the real miracle involves seeing participants learning to understand, respect and appreciate those with physical or intellectual differences. This year alone, Kerrins helped the Myers twins, the Bonta family and facilitated 1,800 placements of disabled adults and children in local park district offerings — a huge triple increase from just 10 years ago when 500 placements were made for those with special needs.

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