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Resources > Articles

Local Community Resources to Enhance Activities

Contributed by Kim Davis

Communities offer an array of opportunities for all of us to become involved in recreational activities and to develop relationships with others. Families of people with disabilities may need to fully investigate as many options as possible for recreational outlets. The first step is to identify the interests of the person you are supporting. From there, begin to explore the community for various organizations or associations which match that interest and begin to attend their meetings. Some of these resources may not be typically associated with people with disabilities.

The following lists will hopefully trigger creative thinking regarding ways in which to access and utilize community resources. The lists are by no means complete, but present some ideas about where to go to connect with your community regarding the varied interests of the individuals you are supporting.

Groups: Organizations:
Business: Chamber of Commerce, Neighborhood business associations, Trade groups
Charitable: Red Cross, Cancer Society, United Way, Big Brothers, Big Sisters
Church: Prayer groups, Acolytes, Youth groups, Bible study, Choirs
Collectors: Stamp collectors, Coin collectors, Flower dryers, Antique collectors
Community: "Friends of the Library," Volunteers at hospitals and nursing homes
Elderly: Senior Citizens, Golden Diners Club
Ethnic: Sons of Norway, Black Heritage Club, Hiberians
Interests: Antique cars owners, Dog clubs, Ceramics classes
Neighborhood: Crime watch, Beautification, Christmas decorations
Outdoors: Garden clubs, Audubon Society, Conservation clubs, Sierra Club
Political: Democrats, Republicans, Green party
Recreation: Parks and Recreation, Young Mens' Christian Association (YMCA), Boys Clubs, Girls Clubs
School: Printing club, Parent/ Teacher Association, Child care
Self-help: Alcoholics Anonymous, Epilepsy Self Help, Single Parents
Service: Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, American Association of University Women
Social Cause: Civil rights, Environmental, Peace
Sports: Bowling, Swimming, Baseball, Volleyball
Study: Literary clubs, Bible Study groups
Veterans: American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
Youth: 4H, Future Farmers, Future Homemakers, Boy Scouts, YMCA, Girl Scouts

For school-age children, some of these organizations and activities may be very appropriate. However, these organizations are not the only source for fulfilling recreational needs. School can also provide students with a variety of options for leisure and recreational activities. During the case conference process, family members and professionals can identify potential leisure opportunities and pinpoint skills which need to be taught to facilitate involvement in an array of community and school activities.

Prior to the case conference meeting, it may be helpful to provide family members with a list of leisure activities which are available in their school and local community. The Elementary Activities List on the last page was developed for elementary students (Wilcox & Bellamy, 1987). This list offers a variety of ideas, but is by no means meant to be the final list of available choices. It can be used as a starting point to begin thinking of all the options that are available. Remember that the list will vary depending on where the student lives. For example, opportunities available in a rural setting will differ from those available in a large city. The goal of providing this list to family members is to acknowledge family and individual preferences, and to begin to prepare students for involvement as adults in their home community. Parents should be encouraged to come to the annual case conference with potential options highlighted.

Finally, additional information regarding transportation, funding, ways to advocate for your family member, and available systems of support can be obtained from the following groups:

  • American Red Cross
  • ARC of Indiana
  • Child Guidance Clinics
  • Community Mental Health Centers/Clinics
  • IN*Source
  • Department of Public Welfare (Medicaid benefits)
  • Family Service Agencies
  • Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Indiana Protection and Advocacy for Developmental Disabilities
  • Local Parent Support or Resource Groups
  • Social Security Administration (SSI Benefits)

Be creative and inquisitive within your community. There are many avenues which can be explored. Ask for help from those you know or from those you contact. In most instances, people are willing to share information and problem solve. The community is there for all to use and enjoy.

Elementary Activities List Leisure/Recreation Domain

Exercise Games/Crafts /Hobbies Events Media Other
  • Team sports (YMCA, Parks & Recreation)
  • Riding a bike
  • Jumping rope
  • Participating in school intramurals
  • Playground play
  • Gymnastics class
  • Roller-skating
  • Roller-blading
  • Ice-skating
  • Sledding
  • Skiing
  • Walking
  • Playing catch/ frisbee
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Games using balls (e.g., keep away)
  • Horseback riding
  • Skateboarding
  • Little League
  • Softball
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Throwing & catching a football
  • Dancing lesson
  • Playing video games
  • Playing target games
  • Playing table games
  • Coloring/ painting
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Collecting (coins, stamps, baseball cards)
  • Playing an instrument
  • Singing
  • Photography
  • Activity books
  • Computer games
  • Art projects
  • Playing card games
  • Making a scrapbook
  • Playing marbles
  • Flying kites
  • Fishing
  • Bubble play
  • Movies
  • Attending school events
  • Going to the library
  • Attending club meetings
  • Attending Boy /Girl Scouts
  • Going out to eat
  • Spend night with a friend
  • Attend concerts
  • Local festivals
  • Shopping with family or friends
  • Attending or having parties
  • Attending local sporting events (volleyball, hockey, baseball, basketball)
  • Play records
  • Watching T.V.
  • Listening to radio/stereo
  • Using cassette player
  • Listening to/ following along with books on tape
  • Reading books, magazines
  • Watching home movies
  • Using a VCR
  • Renting a movie
  • Camping
  • Going to zoo
  • Going to museum
  • Visiting the
  • Botanical Garden
  • Going to the park
  • Going to the library
  • Visiting relatives
  • Attending picnics
  • Spending time with friends
  • Writing letters
  • Attending church
  • Playing miniature golf
  • Going bowling
  • Sand play
  • Water play
Adapted from:
Wilcox, B., & Bellamy, G.T. (1987). The activities catalog: An alternative curriculum for youth and adults with severe disabilities. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Davis, K. (1997). Local community resources to enhance activities. The Reporter, 3(1), 5-6.

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