Therapeutic Recreation and Inclusion Services

staff leading circle activity on lawn at Mission Inclusion Center

For over 30 years Project Insight was RPD’s home for Adaptive Recreation programs.  Now known as Therapeutic Recreation and Inclusion Services, our current program offerings include after school programs, teen programs, swimming, organic gardening, outdoor adventure, Inclusion Week at Camp Mather, summer day camps, and special events, and we offer inclusion support for any program RPD offers. For a complete list of classes, please see the Therapeutic Recreation and Inclusion page page.

For more information about our specialized Therapeutic Recreation programs contact:

For information about Inclusion Services contact:

For inclusion services for programs, please contact us prior to registration or as soon as you register.  Please note that our ability to provide support staff may be limited due to the number of requests and the availability of trained staff, especially during peak times.

India Basin Shoreline Park – Youth Day on the Bay

Don’t Miss out! Access to Adventure 2017 is coming!

Come join us on May 6, for A2A 2017! Access to Adventure (A2A) is a partnership between Support for Families of Children with Disabilities (SFCD) and SF Recreation and Parks WHAT? A festival of recreation for children with disabilities, including sports, extreme sports, outdoor recreation, aquatics, cultural arts, and more! Come enjoy live … Continue reading

Visit the Archives

How do I register for programs, classes, or camps?

How do I request accommodations or supports?

How do I contact Therapeutic Recreation and Inclusion Services?

  • Please contact us at 415-206-1546 (Voice), 415-242-5700 (VP), or by email at RPDTR@sfgov.org.

What services do you offer?

  • We offer specialized Therapeutic Recreation programs for people with disabilities, and Inclusion Support for individuals throughout all of San Francisco Recreation and Park's programs, events, and facilities.
  • For more information about our specialized Therapeutic Recreation programs, contact Emily Vasquez (emily.vasquez@sfgov.org). For more information about our Inclusion Services, contact Jennifer Wong (jennifer.m.wong@sfgov.org)

What are the eligibility requirements for San Francisco Recreation and Park Department programs?

  • Participation in many of our programs is dependent upon the participant meeting eligibility requirements that apply to everyone. Eligibility requirements can be things like age, height, prerequisite skills, and residency.  Most of the requirements are listed in the program descriptions. With the exception of programs where a caregiver is required to attend, most Recreation and Park programs require that participants be independent with personal care, such as toileting and taking medications.

What is SFRPD's Behavior Policy?

  • We strive to use positive approaches to behavior management, and we will work with participants and families when behaviors arise. We will only dismiss a participant in extreme situations and/or after we have worked with the participant and family to explore all other options.  Letting us know before the program begins of any behavior issues, triggers, etc., will help us to work with your child.

Do I need to be a resident of San Francisco to receive Inclusion Services?

  • Recipients of Inclusion Services must meet the eligibility requirements for the specific SFRPD program.  If the program is open to nonresidents, then our Inclusion Services can support participants who are not residents of San Francisco.

What types of Inclusion Services do you provide?

  • Upon completion of a recreation assessment, a support plan is created for participants. For some settings, support and information is provided to existing program staff. In other settings, a support staff person may accompany a participant with a disability to whichever program he or she is signed up for.  Support staff people are not provided without a completed, valid, up to date recreation assessment.

What is an Inclusion Support staff person?

  • An 'Inclusion Support staff person' is  similar to what is often called a '1:1 aide,' or a 'shadow aide,' but we prefer the term 'Inclusion Support,' because we feel it connotes providing an additional staff person to an existing program, to facilitate inclusion of the participant by supporting the participant, the staff, and the program.

How often does the Recreation Assessment need to be updated?

  • The Recreation Assessment must be updated every three (3) years, or if we or the parents/guardians feel there have been significant changes that justify updating the assessment sooner.

What is your Inclusion Process?

  1. Sign up for the class or program through the Registration office, online, or at any one of our Neighborhood Registration sites
  2. A CTRS will monitor participant's progress, and act as a resource to parents, participants, and program staff.
  3.  Contact the Therapeutic Recreation and Inclusion Services office to request accommodations or Inclusion Support immediately after registration (415) 206-1546 or rpdtr@sfgov.org
    • We recommend forwarding an electronic copy of your registration receipt
    • New participants:  schedule an assessment with one of the members of our Therapeutic Recreation (TR) and Inclusion Services staff
    • Returning participants: communicate with TR and Inclusion Services office any new behaviors or changes that may impact participant's Support Plan.  If the last assessment was administered more  than three years ago, please schedule a reassessment.
  4. A Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) will assess the participant's level of support needed and create an individualized Support Plan.
  5. The Support Plan will be shared with the  participant’s parents/guardians and program staff.
  6. A CTRS will evaluate effectiveness of individualized Support Plan to help  ensure success.
  7. Note: Please keep in mind that the sooner you contact us, the better we are able to serve you. Our ability to provide support staff and other accommodations may be limited due to the number of requests and the availability of trained staff, especially during peak times.

How do I qualify for Inclusion Services?

  • In order to qualify for Inclusion Services, participants must be registered for a San Francisco Recreation and Parks program and complete a recreation assessment with one of our CTRSs.

Is an Inclusion Support staff person (or 1:1 'aide') guaranteed?

  • Our ability to provide support staff is limited by the number of requests and the availability of trained staff, especially during peak times.  For this reason, we cannot guarantee there will be a trained, qualified support staff person available.  Contacting us immediately after registration will give us the best chance to create a Support Plan and provide the support or accommodations needed.

What is an assessment? Why do we need one?

  • During our assessment, one of our Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRSs) meets with a parent/guardian and the child. This allows us to get to know the parent/guardian and participant. We use a Leisure Interest and Functional Abilities Assessment; the assessment is not a diagnostic tool.  The information collected from the assessment is used to best support our participants and create individualized goals to provide a successful program experience.

Do I have to complete an assessment for specialized Therapeutic Recreation programs or Inclusion Services?

  • Yes.  In order for a participant to be considered for any Therapeutic Recreation program or Inclusion Services, the  participant must complete an assessment with one of our Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRSs). If the participant is under 18, a parent/guardian must be present.  The assessment is needed so we can best support each participant.

How long does the assessment take?

  • Our recreation assessments usually take about one hour to complete.

Do we need to complete another assessment if we completed one in the past?

  • Our assessments are valid for a maximum of three (3) years.  We reassess  so we can best support participants as they grow and change over time.  If the last assessment was administered over three (3) years ago, please contact us to schedule a reassessment.

Is there a cost for an assessment and/or Inclusion Services?

  • Assessments and Inclusion Services are free for participants registered in our programs. There is no additional charge for support. Remember that support it’s not guaranteed, so contacting us immediately after you register will help ensure availability.

Should I register for a program before I have completed the Recreation Assessment?

  • Yes. Because camps and programs fill up quickly, we do not want you to wait to register.

What if I register for a program, and you are not able to provide support?

In most cases, if you have given us ample time to complete an assessment and arrange accommodations and/or supports, we can offer a refund or credit to your account if we are unable to provide support. If you do not give us enough time, or you change your mind about the camp or program at the last minute--or after the program begins--we will not be able to offer a refund or credit.

Can I provide my own 1:1 aide, support person, therapist, caregiver, or personal assistant?

  • Yes, you can provide your own 1:1 aide, support person, therapist, or personal assistant.  In order to have an outside adult work with your a participant during SFRPD programs, you must follow these guidelines:
    1. The person you are providing must be at least 18 years of age.
    2. For the safety of all SFRPD participants, all outside adults must complete a  background check through SFRPD.  Processing takes at least one (1) month, so be sure to contact us immediately after registration if you plan to send someone to support the participant.
    3. Therapists or adults who work for agencies requiring a background check must still complete a background check with SFRPD.  This is to ensure the safety of all children in our camps and programs.
    4. If it is an individual providing therapy services, we ask the therapy session be scheduled at a time which doesn't interfere with the participants program time

Why is my therapist, aide, 1:1, personal assistant, or support person required to get a background check with SFRPD if he/she has one from another agency?

  • If the background check is completed with another agency, SFRPD does not receive alerts regarding changes in the person's status.  We can only be sure of the criminal backgrounds of all adults if they have background checks through SFRPD.

Does Therapeutic Recreation & Inclusion Services provide transportation?

  • Therapeutic Recreation & Inclusion Services does not provide transportation to and from our facilities or programs.  It is the responsibility of the participant and participant's family to provide transportation.
  • We do sometimes provide transportation for field trips that are part of our camps and programs.

What kind of experience and background do your support staff people have? What kind of training do your support staff people receive?

  • Our team of support staff people have a diverse background in working with individuals with disabilities.  Some of our staff are college students studying Child Development, Special Education, Recreation, Therapeutic Recreation, Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy and more.  We also hire many paraprofessionals.  While many of our staff have years of experience, some of our entry-level staff, including youth hired through our Workreation program and our Camp Assistants, may have little experience; but we ensure that they are passionate about working with people with disabilities and we give them the necessary training.
  • When training staff, we focus on relevant topics including, but not limited to: disability awareness, person first language and attitude, behavioral triggers, behavioral management,  department-specific policies, safety, privacy, customer service and more!  Please note that our staff are not formally trained to provide personal care (toileting, feeding, etc.).

Do your staff provide personal care assistance (toileting, feeding, changing, etc.) or medication administration?

  • San Francisco Recreation and Park employees are not trained to administer medication or provide personal care.  San Francisco Recreation and Park employees may assist with medication, but cannot administer medication;  participants must be independent with taking medication.
  • If a participant needs assistance with personal care (dressing, toileting, feeding, etc.) in an Inclusion setting, please arrange a personal assistant or caregiver.
  • If a participant needs assistance with personal care in one of our specialized Therapeutic Recreation programs, we are more likely to be able to provide these kinds of accommodations.  If the participant needs special equipment (diapers, wipes, special food, medications etc.), it is your responsibility to provide those items and ensure they are up to date and replenished.  For additional questions or concerns with personal care, contact the TR & Inclusion Services Office so we can work together to support the participant.

Are you hiring? Can my child's 1:1 aide, paraprofessional, personal assistant or caregiver get paid through SFRPD?

  • San Francisco Recreation and Parks is only authorized to pay SFRPD employees or approved vendors.  For that reason, we cannot pay an aide, personal assistant, or caregiver unless he/she is an employee of SFRPD.
  • We are always looking for qualified, compassionate individuals to work in our specialized Therapeutic Recreation programs and camps, and in our and Inclusion Services.  If you know anyone interested, please have him or her get in contact with us right away!

Therapeutic Recreation & Inclusion Services Interest Survey

Please answer this survey to help San Francisco Recreation & Parks improve and develop our programs and services for people with disabilities. With your input, we can better serve you and your child. Thank You!
* Required
I am interested in programs for *
Please check all that apply.
I am interested in the following types of programs *
Please check all that apply.
I am also interested in Specialized Recreation Programs for people with *
Please check all that apply.
My preferred season(s) of classes/programming are *
Please check all that apply.
My preferred day(s) of classes/programming are *
Please check all that apply.
My preferred time(s) of classes/programming are *
Please check all that apply.
My preferred district for classes/programming is *
Listed below is clusters from West to East. Please check all that apply.
Additional comments or suggestions
Please let us know if you have any comments or suggestions for how we can improve recreation opportunities for people with disabilities.

Please provide your information to be added to our mailing list.

First Name

Last Name

Phone Number

Email Address

Thank you! San Francisco Recreation and Parks appreciates your input to better serve you and your child.

Please feel free to contact Inclusion Services as (415) 206-1546 for additional comments, questions, or concerns.

Remember Everybody Plays, so get out and play!

Captionless Image
Screen reader support enabled.

Articles and Websites

Books

Engaging Autism: Helping Children Relate, Communicate and Think with the DIR Floortime Approach by Stanley I. Greenspan

Replays: Using Play to Enhance Emotional And Behavioral Development for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder by Karen Levine

You're Going to Love This Kid!: Teaching Students With Autism in the Inclusive Classroom by Paula Kluth

Peer Play and the Autism Spectrum: The Art of Guiding Children's Socialization and Imagination by Pamela J. Wolfberg

At the End of the Day, Lessons Learned in Inclusive Education by Marquita Grenot-Scheyer, Mary Fisher, & Debbie Staub

Send in the Idiots: Stories from the Other Side of Autism by Kamran Nazeer.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism by Paul Collins

Caged in Chaos, A Dyspraxic Guide to Breaking Free by Victoria Biggs

Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Seven Keys to Unlock Autism: Making Miracles In The Classroom by Elaine Hall and Diane Issacs

Mockingbird by Kathyrn Erskine