Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Charles S. Hausman

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Second Advisor

James R. Bliss

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Third Advisor

Deborah L. West

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand whether participation in specialized recreation programs, which are designed for individuals with disabilities, increases opportunities for participation in inclusive programs, which are designed for both individuals with and without disabilities. Regardless of the popularity and growth of inclusive services, specialized programs persevere in numerous recreational service settings and continue to be used by individuals with disabilities and their families. This study helps to clarify why individuals with disabilities and their families choose to participate or not participate in these programs. The research questions focused on the connection between participation in specialized and inclusive recreation programs. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health for Children and Youth (ICF-CY), a classification of the health components of functioning and disability, provided the conceptual framework for the study and facilitated the interpretation of the findings. This study should help recreational service providers and educators create and develop programs, both specialized and inclusive, and promote the concept of choice in recreation. The research participants were selected using purposive sampling wherein individuals who possessed specific characteristics of importance to this study were selected by the researcher. The findings as well as the implications and conclusions from this study provide understandings that could have a direct impact on participation in specialized and inclusive recreation programming.

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