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This article is an interview with Mark Ohrenberg who was the Coordinator of the Missouri Access Recreation Project at the University of Missouri/Kansas City, Institute for Human Development, Center of Excellence. As you’ll discover in this interview, all people can be successfully included in ordinary recreational opportunities!

​Kathie: Can inclusive recreation work for anyone—regardless of the type or significance of the disability?

Mark: Absolutely! Unlike success in other arenas, such as work or school, success in inclusive recreation isn’t necessarily dependent on a person’s skills, talents, or abilities. Instead, success is measured by a person’s enjoyment! And while our project officially focuses on children in school (grades K-12), the outcomes have an effect on the community as a whole and on people with disabilities of all ages. There’s a ripple effect. For example, when a particular community activity has successfully included one or more students with disabilities, the way is paved for others with disabilities to participate. A wide variety of opportunities are opened up, and it’s wonderful to see!

Kathie: Why is inclusive recreation important?

Mark: First, it increases a person’s social interactions, allowing him to feel more comfortable in a variety of situations, and it enhances his social and communication abilities. There’s no better place for these to occur than through informal, unstructured events. You’re there to have fun, people are just people, and pretensions and official structures disappear.

People learn problem-solving skills in inclusive recreation. Click here to continue.

Inclusive Recreation: A Passport to Real Life!

Inclusive recreation also helps others see individuals with disabilities as real people! Kids and adults with and without disabilities learn to work as a team, and real friendships develop. A lot of parents tell us their kids don’t have friends. Well, one of the best ways to make friends is through fun!

Mark Ohrenberg


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