Feature Article - January 2013
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Programming: Inclusiveness

Mission Possible
Programming Inclusion for Hidden Disabilities

By Kelli Anderson

Other Staff Resources

Experienced experts are also as close as your local schools, in which many who work in special education are eager to find work in the summer months and are ideal for summer camps and other summer programs. Working closely with schools all year round, however, and communicating with them to learn what strategies have worked in the classrooms for individual children, is a great way to transport success from one location to another.

"Consistency is so important with kids with their reward systems and behavior plans," Andersen explained. "As long as we have permission from parents, we love talking to teachers and hiring aids because they know the kids and they have the background. I only have to train them about our policies. We work very, very closely with the school system, and those park districts that do it, it works amazingly."

According to Andersen, the more communication with the child's entire team, the better everyone will be, citing the use of a notebook that is passed from a child's school assistant, to the park district staff each day through which information about the child's day is recorded to prepare everyone for an easy transition from one environment to the next.

Consistency & Continuity

Consistency in language is also key to creating an environment that includes everyone and singles out no one. "We need to use typical language so that no one feels different," Golob said. "We will ask kids, 'Hey, does anyone need to go for a walk? Josey, do you need a break?' because there are times everyone has an off day. Then when Max is feeling overwhelmed, we can say, 'Max, let's go for a walk,' and everyone has the same sense of attention and love from the leader in their life."

Continuity in hiring staff with shared values, who learn a shared language and continuity in offering inclusion practices that transition from the home or school environment to the recreational one, are key characteristics of inclusion programming that works.

National Center on Accessibility: www.ncaonline.org/
National Center on Health and Disability: www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/
Cinncinnati Recreation Commission: www.cincinnati-oh.gov/recreation/
National Inclusion Project (conferences April 4, 5 2013) : www.inclusionproject.org/
Kids Included Together: www.kitonline.org