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"Special Recreation for Special People!"

by Kathy Ellis

What is a special recreation program? For one child with learning disabilities, a special recreation program might be one that will teach him the basic skills of throwing and catching a balla skill all the neighborhood children can perform. Because he frequently gets teased about his poor motor skills, this child now hesitates to take part in games with other children.

For a handicapped young adult, a special recreation program could provide frequent social events-an opportunity to see new places and to meet new friends. This young adult needs to socialize, to use her leisure time wisely and productively, rather than spend it watching her family's television set.

A few short months ago both commissioners and directors of five local park districts realized that those individuals with special needs were not participating in their local district's programs. Recognizing that recreation is FUNdamental for all people, these interested representatives of the park districts set about to cooperatively provide special recreation services. With the passage of Senate Bills 220 and 221 in September of 1975, the means for a sound financial base to provide joint services for handicapped was possible. The park districts conducted seminars and informational meetings to determine the density of the special population to be served, the recreational needs and the feasibility of working closely with the school districts to attain this goal.

The South East Association for Special Parks and Recreation (SEASPAR) is now a reality. This new Association has been formed to provide special recreation programs for individuals with special needs living within the park district boundaries of Darien, Downers Grove, Lisle, Westmont and Woodridge.

A wide variety of recreational programs will be offered for people of all ages whose special needs might originate from many different disabilities.

(Editors Note: More and more communities in Illinois are joining together to provide quality recreation for the handicapped. Other associations which have formed include: Northern Suburban Special Recreation Assn. (NSSRA), Maine-Niles Assn. of Special Recreation (MNASR), Northwest Special Recreation Assn. (NWSRA), South Suburban Special Recreation Assn. (SSSRA), and SEASPAR.)

Members of the SEASPAR Board standing from left to right are Henry Van Kampen. Commissioner Lisle Park District; William F. Sherman, Commissioner Downers Grove Park District: Joseph Schultz, Director Westmont Park District; Don L. Rossman Commissioner, Woodridge Park District. Seated are Pat Kampwirth, Commissioner Darien Park District and Kathleen Ellis, Executive Director.

Illinois Parks and Recreation 23 November/December, 1976

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