The mission of the Chicago Park District special recreation program is to provide a diverse range of recreational opportunities for children and adults with disabilities. These include the following programs and services: Adaptive Sports; Paralympic Sports; Special Olympics; recreation and leisure programs for deaf/hard of hearing and/or blind/visually impaired individuals, ranging from introductory levels to competitive sports. There are two locations with year-round programs for deaf/hard of hearing individuals. There are 16 locations that work with individuals with intellectual disabilities. One location offers programs with a primary focus to work with youth at risk. All special recreation field staff and inclusion aides are trained in behavior management and adaptive sport skills. Participant assessments are completed when requested to assure an individual with a disability will be successful in any program the Chicago Park District offers.
The Chicago Park District special recreation program has developed a partnership with schools and agencies that work with individuals with disabilities, focusing on the expansion of services for physical and sensory disabilities, with a goal to create a Chicago Park District Paralympic team. Leagues and competitions for youth at risk, a program with the alternative schools within the City of Chicago, are also coordinated through the special recreation program. This successful outreach offers the recreational opportunities needed for this population.
The Special Olympics Chicago program is an integral part of the special recreation program. Information about the program and volunteer opportunities can be found at www.sochicago.org.