Accessing adventure: designing accessible outcome measures for outdoor adventure programs
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INTRODUCTION: Despite the benefits of outdoor pursuits, people with disabilities engage in recreation less frequently and with less variety when compared to able-bodied peers. Waypoint Adventure, a non-profit organization, facilitates outdoor adventure programs for adults and youth with a range of disabilities. The organization is revising its program evaluation process to document outcomes that are meaningful to participants and communicate the benefits of programs to funders and other stakeholders. OBJECTIVE: Utilize principles of Universal Design for Learning and activity analysis to create and implement a program evaluation process that is accessible and feasible for use by an adaptive recreation organization. ACTIVITIES: A needs assessment was conducted to identify outcomes, stakeholders, and current program evaluation processes. Drawing upon evidence regarding cognitive accessibility design features, an accessible survey was created to measure participant outcomes. Data from cognitive interviews was used to revise the survey to address accessibility and increase response rates. Additional products include a Program Evaluation Manual, Program Evaluation Kit, and two surveys to elicit perspectives from parents and teachers. OUTCOMES: The new program evaluation process was pilot tested over a one-month period. During 18 outdoor programs, 79 survey responses were collected, representing 61% of all participants. Staff satisfaction with the program evaluation process improved in all dimensions measured. CONCLUSION: Integrating principles of Universal Design for Learning and activity analysis was an effective approach to improve the accessibility and efficacy of program evaluation for an adaptive recreation organization.
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