I have heard about adaptive recreation programs, but can we afford it?

Many adaptive recreation programs offer scholarships for those who would otherwise be unable to afford them. The types and amounts of scholarships vary, depending on the program and its level of funding. Some programs offer partial scholarships, which may cover a portion or all of the registration fee but none of the travel and lodging costs. Others offer full scholarships to cover all program and travel-related costs for the participant but not for the accompanying family member(s) or caregiver. Still others are able to cover all of the program and travel-related costs both for the participant and at least one caregiver. The key is to ask the question.

Once you locate potential adaptive recreation programs to attend, call each one directly. Tell them which program interests you. Explain to them the disability involved and the financial situation. Then ask if scholarships are available and, if so, how you would apply for one. Remember to ask which costs are covered by the scholarship and which ones you would still be expected to cover.

After you receive or download the scholarship application form, be sure to follow the instructions carefully and pay special attention to any stated deadlines for application. The program staff will be available via phone to assist you should you have any questions about how to complete the application.
Many adaptive recreation programs designed specifically for injured military are provided at no cost to the military member. More and more, these programs include family members and cover their costs as well. One example is Challenge Aspen's C.A.M.O. program. Each program's website typically provides all of the information about how to apply and about which costs are covered.

To search for adaptive recreation programs for injured military in your region, visit the Challenge America resource directory, type the word "recreation" in the box under "I'm looking for" and type your zip code in the box under "near." You will get a list of programs available in your area.
Lana Pacheco

We must find a way to maintain fitness and recreation for those individuals with special needs. Many institutions are cutting back on those services because of budget limitations. This a great opportunity for health clubs to offer some of these services. There are many activities at the gym that can be adapted to help physically challenged individuals. At Parkpoint Health Club in Santa Rosa, California, we offer an open gym time between 1pm and 3pm twice a week during the winter session break and three times a week during the summer session break. This 2-hour period is supervised by one of our trainers that is also the adaptive PE assistant at the junior college. The participants pay a fee to maintain the program but all the memberships fees are waived. This has definitely become a win win for our members as well. I feel that it is critical that those individuals with physical challenges be given the opportunity to maintain their level of ability and thrive. 

Joanne Duncan-Carnesciali, CPT,NASM Elite Trainer
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
For many, adaptive recreational exercise programs can be cost prohibitive. However, according to the text Adapted Physical Education and Sport, under the "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), students aged three to 21 years of age with disabilities must have an individualized education program (IEP) developed by a planning committee. IDEA also requires the development of an individualized family service plan (IFSP) for infants and toddlers with disabilities."

PE Central ( provides up to date information on developmentally appropriate programs for school-aged children. It also offers resources and lesson ideas for regular and adapted physical education classes.

There is also a plethora of organizations that offer adapted sports programs from archery to water skiing for those interested in different physical activities. If this is of interest to you, feel free to contact me.

For individuals over that threshold, there are many community run programs as well as city-owned recreations facilities that those with disabilities can frequent. The National Center for Physical Activity and Disability ( provides a list of nationwide parks that accommodate individuals with disabilities. In addition, on their site there is a listing of programs throughout the United States designed for individuals with disabilities.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.