Inclusion Services

NISRA encourages individuals with disabilities to explore a wide range of choices to find their most enjoyable recreation experiences. Oftentimes that is a NISRA program, and sometimes it is a program offered by their home park district or recreation department.

NISRA works closely with its member park districts and recreation departments to make reasonable accommodations of participants with disabilities. A collaborative relationship between the family, member district staff and NISRA continues through the duration of the program.

Swim instructor holding participant in swimming pool

Reasons to Request Inclusion Services

Various individuals may recognize that a person with a disability would benefit from participating in a member district program with some additional support. Examples of these could be a parent, family member, school staff, or an adult with a disability who wishes to register.

Member district staff identify a need for additional support for safety and programmatic reasons, and communicate this need to the registrant.


Inclusion services provide support through accommodations within any program offered by NISRA’s member park districts and recreation departments.

Any individual who is served by NISRA’s member park district and recreation departments and has a special need for inclusion services. Individuals must meet the essential eligibility requirements of the program for which they are interested in registering. Requirements may include, but are not limited to, age, skill level, current enrollment in a school where the program takes place, etc.

Inclusion services are provided at no additional cost to the participant. Participants pay the advertised program fee to their park district or recreation department.

Some examples of the services provided are:

  • Activity modification
  • Observation and evaluation
  • Adaptive equipment
  • Disability Awareness training
  • Behavior Management support
  • Contracting Sign Language interpreters
  • Visual systems
  • Varying levels of staff support (ex. aide)

Inclusion aides are recruited by the member district and trained to assist individuals who have special needs. Although every effort is made to secure staff with special education and/or a background of working with people with disabilities, aides may have limited experience.

The inclusion aide is hired to provide necessary support for individuals to be successful within the program. They are not hired to provide private instruction, tutoring, or respite work. The member district, in cooperation with NISRA, determines the need for each inclusion request.

Requesting Inclusion Services

To receive inclusion services:

  1. Register for your home park district or recreation department program(s).
  2. Mark the accommodation section of the registration form.
  3. Once the registration form is submitted, the member district staff will contact you to discuss the type of inclusion support needed for the participant.
  4. The member district will provide NISRA with an Inclusion Services Worksheet that contains both program and participant information.
  5. NISRA then contacts you to further discuss the needs of the participant and get input on the type(s) of support needed.
  6. NISRA will make recommendations for necessary accommodations to support participation in the program.
  7. NISRA will make up to five observations of the participant in the program.
  8. Communication between all parties continues throughout the inclusion process. Supports will be reevaluated as needed.


Please contact Mia Leyba, NISRA’s Manager of Inclusion Services at [email protected] or 815-459-0737, ext. 224.