Recreation and the Law

Accessibility and Inclusion – What is the difference?

Accessibility: The physical approach/architecture
Removing environmental barriers so that a person with a disability can participate and have choices Physical access is only the beginning

Inclusion: Knowledge/Understanding/Acceptance/Adaptation
Offering welcoming, meaningful and purposeful opportunities to participate in all facets of community life is the goal

The American Disabilities Act (ADA)

  • Right to the Most Integrated Setting
  • Right to Participate
  • Right to Reasonable Accommodations
  • Right to Adaptive Equipment
  • Right to an Assessment or Evaluation
  • Disparate Impact (policies cannot have a greater impact on people with disabilities than on people without disabilities.)
  • Fees (no higher fee or surcharge for the cost of accommodations or for providing the most integrated setting.)

Only two types of entities are exempt from the ADA provisions…

  • Private clubs
    Where membership requires a nomination and a substantial initial fee, along with substantial annual obligations
  • Religious organizations

However…the ADA does not exist in a vacuum:
State or local laws may apply similar non-discriminatory requirements to churches and private clubs.

John McGovern, JD President, Recreation Accessibility Consultants
Adapted from the National Center on Accessibility and National Center on Physical Activity and Disability monograph: Recreation Access Rights Under the ADA ( )

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