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Product Information Challenge Course Operations for Including People with Disabilities

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This article presents findings from survey research done in 2003-2004 to help aid challenge course managers and facilitators in their efforts to include participants with disabilities.

What are Challenge Courses?
Challenge Courses consist of a series of structures or elements built in order to challenge participants physically, emotionally and mentally. These structures can be built close to the ground (low course) or stand high above the ground (high course) and are mostly constructed on trees, poles or metal structures. Challenge Courses are typically built outdoors, but indoor courses are becoming increasingly popular in order to allow for year round programming. Ropes Courses and Ropes Challenge Courses are other common names found in the literature when referring to Challenge Courses.

The survey questions were distributed to managers and facilitators of challenge courses, and the monograph presents results organized under the following section titles:
- Site accessibility
- Management and operations
- Challenge course facilitator competencies
- Inclusive activity management
- Non-belayed and belayed activities
- Risk management and related safety

The researchers found that the programs surveyed were strong in having philosophies that supported the inclusion of people with disabilities in adventure programs, and all were adept in keeping people safe (which sometimes meant people with disabilities were excluded from some activities). The research also identified that program staff often lacked training in technical skills, such as participant assessment and the use of adapted equipment. The article concludes with a list of challenge course staff training topics when working with participants with disabilities.

-Information taken directly form the article "Challenge Course Operations for Including People with Disabilities" viewed online (www.indiana.edu/~nca/monographs/16ccoperations.shtml) and from the Universal Challenge website (www.indiana.edu/~nca/challenge/pro_challenge.htm) both viewed on 5/31/13
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This web site is maintained by the Research and Training Center on Community Living with support from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, the Human Services Research Institute and the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. E-mail weste050@umn.edu.
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