Introduction and Overview

Increasingly, our society is recognizing the value of social inclusion in the lives of all of us. New Brunswick has recently made a new law known as the Economic and Social Inclusion Act. While primarily focused on reducing poverty, this new law recognizes that economic and social exclusion has a negative impact on people’s well being and denies people the right to fulfill their potential and contribute to their communities.

Social inclusion is about experiencing a sense of belonging that involves having positive social relationships as well as opportunities to be actively engaged in the community. It means that people have choices about what they do based on personal preferences and interests.

Recreation plays an important role in the lives of most people. It provides us with opportunities to be with other people, learn new skills, develop friendships, have fun, and do things that will improve our health and well-being.

People with intellectual and other disabilities need the same opportunities to participate in recreation activities that are available to all citizens. For some people, however, opportunities are still limited to separate activities designed specifically for people with disabilities. This limits people’s opportunities to experience real social inclusion and its many benefits.

This module provides information and practical strategies for achieving social inclusion through recreation for people with intellectual and other disabilities. Increasingly, community recreation programs are responding to the goals and needs of people with disabilities to have access to inclusive recreation opportunities. Yet, many recreation providers still need information and support to implement the policies, strategies and techniques for including people with disabilities in their programs.

This module is primarily designed for recreation providers. It does, however, also provide information and strategies for families who are interested in assisting their children to achieve social inclusion through recreation in their communities.

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