A Conceptual Framework for Improving the Accessibility of Fitness and Recreation Facilities for People With Disabilities

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Access to fitness and recreation facilities is an important issue for people with disabilities. Although policy and legislation have helped to remove various environmental barriers, there remain a substantial number of inaccessible features in fitness and recreation facilities. This article presents an approach for improving the accessibility of fitness and recreation environments that enables participation and input from members of the community, as well as persons with expertise in accessibility. Through a collaboration between facilities, persons with disabilities and accessibility consultants, the approach provides a process of incremental change through readily achievable barrier removal and by providing an information and educational resource concerning barrier removal, disability awareness, and economic and information resources. Technology is incorporated to facilitate accessibility assessment, interaction between various stakeholders, and the creation of an accessibility solutions database. Policy implications of this approach are discussed.

The authors are with the Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60608.