Important developmental aspects in adolescence include the ability to acquire and cultivate friendships, proficiencies, healthy lifestyle habits, and an overall purpose and meaning in life. Inclusion provides each child an equal opportunity to develop in a normal and integrated environment. Participation in stimulating and intrinsically motivating recreation and leisure activities offers a central means for the growth of this development in children with and without disabilities. The social and self-determination skills of youth with disabilities were hypothesized to develop and improve as the youth became more actively involved and engaged with other children, daily activities, and the experiences of an inclusive summer day camp program. The sample was composed of 29 youth participants with various disabilities, aged 6-14. The frequency of participation and level of engagement for the above measures was recorded weekly over the participants’ involvement in inclusive summer camp programs. The average length of enrollment in the summer camp programs was 4.31 ± 1.47 weeks. The frequency of participation and level of engagement for each study measure of the Youth Participation and Engagement Scale was positively correlated with the involvement of youth with disabilities in an inclusive summer camp program. While the correlations did not showed significant regression values, each measure indicated a positive growth of each skill. The results of this study show the benefits of the inclusive and recreational setting for the development of all youth, but especially for those with disabilities.
This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).
Dostal, Kurtis, M.
Examining the Inclusive Summer Camp Environment as an Opportunity for Developing Social and Self-Determination Skills of Youth with Disabilities.
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