Inadequate Recreation Facilities for the Disabled
Recreation facilities are very essential, not only for the disabled, but also for all groups of people. Recreation refers to the action of obtaining leisure at one’s own suitable time (Kraus, 2008). It helps in relaxing and resting the body; thus, it is very crucial in our psychological and biological status. In this regard, recreation is generally considered as any activity that aims at having fun, amusement, pleasure, or enjoyment (Yukic, 1990).
Statement of the Problem
The overall recreation industry is faced by a very huge challenge when it comes to serving all interested groups. One of the most negatively affected groups is the people with disabilities. A disability encompasses a wide range of incapacitations ranging from mental illness, emotional instability, developmental problems, and poor cognitive status (DePoy & Gilson, 2004, Park Practice Program, U.S., 2010). It can also be termed as any physical or mental condition that limit an individual’s ability to move, sense, or participate in the activities undertaken by a normal person (ILO/UNESCO/UNICEF/WHO, 1997). Disability is generally associated with a person’s attributes that prevent them from or interferes with their day-to-day activities (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010). However, DePauw (2005) reveals that the most common phenomena associated with this group are the people with physical disabilities. This group of people faces a very huge challenge when it comes to accessing various recreational services simply because the facilities are inadequate for their needs. This problem is commonly associated with the ignorance of the overall society because this group is seen as unproductive. The government does little to tackle this problem, and this is the reason that other non-governmental organizations are not well spirited in ensuring that recreational facilities for the disabled are adequate (Degener, 2002). This issue is worth investigation because denial of such facilities to the disabled is a gross violation of human rights, and it does not only amount to negligence, but also segregation of special groups in the society.
This paper seeks to evaluate the extent to which this problem has gone to affect the disabled in relation to their recreational rights, and to come up with the findings that can lead to better and amicable solutions to the problem. If the problem is approached with a concerted effort among the government, non-governmental groups, private sector, and the general society, then there is a huge possibility of availing adequate recreational facilities for the disabled. This is probably the most effective method of tackling the problem. This research comes up with the fundamental elements underpinning the whole issue of inadequacy of the recreational facilities for the disabled. In so doing, the project will ensure that the approach is wholly implying that all aspects of the problem will be covered in finding a sustainable solution. Eventual solutions and strategies to the problem are the main target of this analysis. The outcomes will reflect on the methods that can be used to solve the problem as much as possible. By evaluating a few cases in different parts of the world, final submissions will rely on the comparisons obtained from these cases. The study is actually designed to reflect mainly on inadequacies in providing recreational facilities to the disabled implying that the final reflections are going to be on ways that the issue can be approached and eventual solution proposed.
According to the World Bank reports in 1997, 10% of the world population or approximately 600 million people are disabled in one way or the other (Houtenville, 2009). In its submissions, the report shockingly reveals that 80% of all cases are found in the developing world. Furthermore, these countries have the poorest recreational facilities for the disabled. Thus, it implies that inadequacy in recreational facilities can be traced back into the financial abilities of these nations to provide them. At least 25% of all families are directly affected by disability and this is perhaps the biggest cause of poverty (Albrecht, 2010). Ninety eight percent of children with disabilities miss going to school. Looking at these figures, the disabled can be categorized among the minorities; therefore, special considerations should be made for their need of recreational facilities.
Disparities in socioeconomic status and racial biases can be caused by the unavailability of recreational facilities. Some of the most common factors that contribute to such disparities are location, accessibility, and the number of such facilities (Wilson, 2004). In other words, sites where these facilities are may deter one group of a society from accessing them for fear of being abused by people of different racial compositions.
A study carried out in North Carolina revealed several problems that come with inadequate recreational facilities in different neighborhoods. Living among these neighborhoods, disabled people are equally or even more affected by such problems (National Center on Physical Activity and Disability, 2007). In most cases, there are no special considerations for this group where they are also expected to use, or share such facilities with the rest. Lower income communities, which are mostly blacks, are the most affected. Whites who are majorly high-income earners are served better with most facilities being located within their neighborhoods. About 70-80 percent of minorities in Carolina did not have access to these facilities (Moore et al., 2008). Considering the fact, that the majority of disabled individuals come from poor societies, and is mostly found among populations of low socioeconomic status, it is arguably true that the disabled bear a bigger brand of these disparities in distribution of recreational facilities (Lentheet al., 2005).
The World Program of Action Concerning Disabled Persons that works under the UN reveals huge discrimination against the disabled in many societies. The program relies on the rampart cases of inequality between the disabled and the rest when it comes to accessing and using recreational facilities. Very few societies have endeavored to succeed in providing excellent recreational facilities for the disabled (United Nations, 2011). Therefore, equalization of opportunities is biased; therefore, the disabled are segregated. The UN proposes both political and social participation in efforts to avail different recreational facilities to the disabled. By so doing, this group will feel part of the society and thus, contribute to their livelihoods in different ways.
In the United States, there have been huge gaps between how normal and disabled people get to recreational facilities (Gadacz, 1994). Public recreational facilities such as parks, campgrounds, and theaters among others were difficult to access incase one was disabled. This is simply because there was no government focus directed to this problem. However, it was until early nineties when the Federal government embarked on enacting a policy that will help in committing public funds to helping the disabled get access to such facilitates. This meant that special considerations were formulated to come up with adequate recreational facilities for the disabled. It culminated in the establishment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that has in many ways helped in solving the issue in the US. However, this act is still challenged by a number of issues; for instance, where the disabled are not given sufficient information on how to access recreational faculties (Family Network Resources, 2011).
Even though there are some efforts on improving recreational facility status for the disabled, there is still very little that has been done when building such facilities, as far as people with disabilities are concerned. Facilities such as showers and lockers in dressing rooms are in most cases inaccessible to people with disabilities. This presents another inadequacy in these facilities because only the able-bodied can comfortably use them. In this regard, the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) was established with an aim of ensuring that people with disabilities get access to these facilities (Fairbanks, 2008; Gadacz, 1994). It dictates the manner in which such facilities should be designed in terms of architectural design where equipments such as benches should be well equipped with support devices. Stairs should also be accessible especially by those people who cannot walk. This is also ensured by building lifts in recreational buildings such as cinema halls.
A study conducted in Botswana authenticated the fact that individuals living in developing nations are the most vulnerable when it comes to inadequacy in recreation facilities. In this study, 14 schools for the disabled were used as a sample. Recreational facilities considered include bowling, swimming pools, soccer, badminton, and netball among other sports. In this study, eight of the 14 samples facilities were grossly affected by huge inadequacies of recreational facilities for the disabled. This supports the view that most pupils in developing countries especially in Africa have not been exposed to recreational facilities in their schools (Blinde & McClung, 1997; Huonker et al., 1996).
Diversity is another inadequacy facing recreational facilities for the disabled. These facilities are supposed to cover the variety of people with different disabilities. According to Compton (1995), different people suffer from different disabilities and therefore, any facility set for their benefit should consider the varied forms of disabilities. In so doing, all groups of disabled person are going to be served inclusively.
This study presents a form of a survey research design and therefore, its contents are mostly descriptive. This kind of research may use statistical evidence about an issue surrounding the research topic or problem by looking at the arithmetic distribution of certain issues (Earl, 1999). This is boosted by the fact that the study is a social one and therefore, analysis by description is appropriate. A descriptive design is one that is mainly geared at studying the actual status of the topic under study. To achieve good results from such studies, various observation techniques are a useful integral tool for collecting data, recording, and analyzing it (Thomas and Nelson, 1996). If done properly, survey research design can be very effective in deriving the best proposals for solving a problem. The methodologies will rely on the one previously used by different people to come with the details in the literature review. This implies that these methodologies are literally going to the one used in the section.
Analyzing the penetration of recreational facilities is a very useful tool in determining how many facilities are present in a particular locality. This should be followed by describing the situation using existing levels and anticipated standards in order to establish the existing gaps. The best method is finding the density of these facilities in different regions and then looking at the resources available or those offered and to what groups of people. Density can be obtaining by dividing the number of facilities with the number of people to get the number of resources per a certain arbitrary fixed number of people, say 1000. In so doing, comparisons can be made and thus, come up with better solution strategies. The cost of coming up with this facilities should be focused on, in order to assess the impact of financial constraints or obstacles. This should be by comparing cost incurred in coming up with some of the existing facilities.
When narrowing to the type of sampling that will help in getting to the root of the problem, it is wise to consider choosing an all-inclusive pool of sample (Landreneau, 2010; Speziale and Crpenter, 2003). For instance, in assessing the socioeconomic effects on inadequacies of recreational facilities for the disabled, specific sampling should be used in order to establish and focus on certain localities. For example, groups with mixed races should be selected directly to assess disparities that arise from such a situation. Economic setups of different places, also incorporated in the sample gives a clearer picture on how economic issues affect distribution of recreational facilities. Looking at developing countries is also important especially in Africa. Botswana has been used in this research to evaluate the problem and thus, acts as a representative sample for developing countries. Similarly, countries like the US can represent the developed world. In this case, a study conducted in North Carolina, US have been considered in trying to understand how far the problem affects the developed countries.
The Result of the Methodology
Considering to selectively sample cases upon which the study is done ensure that all targeted environments are covered especially in places where there are big racial and socioeconomic gaps (Denzin, 2000). Therefore, this will help in solving the problem of distribution of these facilities without racial or socioeconomic biases. Investing in low cost recreational facilities is very effective in ensuring that the disabled live better. Establishing low cost facilities will increase the number of these facilities by great margins. Giving attention to specific facilities such as sports equipment help much in determining levels of disparities based on how facilities are equipped.
Descriptive research strategy helped much in understanding the situation or the problem. In this sense, understanding a problem first before setting to solve or proposing solutions to it is very crucial (Guagliardo, 2004). This shows the number of facilities per a certain number of people in certain localities and thus, is useful in assessing the adequacy of recreational facilities for the disabled. In this aspect, there is heterogeneity observed in some places basing on race and socioeconomic backgrounds. This proves that socioeconomic status among different societies does actually influence availability and suitability of recreational facilities for special groups such as the disabled (Giles-Corti and Donovan, 2002). Black communities in some parts of North Carolina revealed such disparities implying that the method was effective in highlighting the issue.
The Statement of Learning
In undertaking to do research, it is good to understand what the topic of study us all about. By so doing, collection of data will be adjusted to fit into the demands of the problem. Inadequate recreational facilities for the disabled are a very serious case in almost all societies in the world. Researching into this matter has revealed that there should be a collective approach to getting an amicable solution. By exercising this independent research, I have also learned that the most affected groups fall among the developing world. This implies that the situation there is more severe given the fact that coming with recreational facilities for all groups in the society is expensive. It is also surprising that the problem persists in developed countries although with a lesser magnitude. Doing a critical analysis is also vital to permit the utilization of different analytical strategies therefore, giving a wider range of solutions. The manner in which resources are availed by the governments also show that there is still laxity in coming up with recreational facilities for the disabled. Furthermore, it is evident that recreational facilities do not address the diverse needs of disabled individuals even in places where they are available.
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