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Accessibility

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Montgomery Parks and the Montgomery County Department of Recreation are working to improve the accessibility of recreation facilities, programs and services throughout the County.

This includes the parks, playgrounds, ball fields, and facilities and programs offered by Montgomery Parks and the recreation centers, pools, exercise rooms and other programs administered by the Department of Recreation. Each agency is currently developing a multi-year transition plan that will include physical changes to indoor and outdoor facilities, new policies and staff training. All of the work will be done in accordance with the following regulations by Department of Justice (DOJ):

As both agencies move forward on developing and implementing the transition plans, more information will be made available on this site in order to keep the community updated.

Multi-Year Plan to Improve Accessibility

Overview 

M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and the Montgomery County Department of General Services are developing a multi-year plan to enhance accessibility at recreational facilities and parks throughout the County. These efforts coincide with revised Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations for state and local governments (issued by The U.S. Department of Justice) that went into effect in March 2012. These regulations will impact parks, playgrounds, ball fields, picnic areas and other amenities operated by M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks as well as swimming pools, recreation centers, whirlpools, saunas and exercise rooms operated by the Recreation Department. The first steps in developing the multi-year plan include conducting a phased analysis of parks and recreation facilities, and simultaneously conducting public outreach to solicit input, comments and suggestions regarding our approach and priorities.

Tell Us What You Think

Ideas from the public are welcome. We need your help to make our park system accessible to people with all abilities.

  • Public Survey. Please take this 5-8 minute survey regarding accessibility concerns and improvements at Montgomery Parks
  • Email to ADA project manager or call 301-650-2885

Program Access

What is Program Access?

Program Access, also referred to as “Inclusion”, within the Montgomery County Department of Parks is the means by which individuals with disabilities are welcome to participate in recreational programs and activities of their choice.  Reasonable accommodations are provided to enable an individual’s successful participation in a program.  Some minimum eligibility requirements (age, level of participation) must be met in order to participate.

What are the minimum requirements for success?

Minimum requirements apply to all persons with all abilities.  These include:

  • Meeting the age and registration requirements of the program.
  • Following the rules of conduct (with or without reasonable accommodation).
  • Voluntary participation: recreation programs and activities are voluntary in nature. Participation will be encouraged and aided, but not forced.
  • Level of participation:  with or without reasonable accommodations, the participant will engage in scheduled activities for the majority of the program time.
  • Ability to use a consistent form of communication to indicate basic needs and follow simple directions.
  • Ability to tolerate and function, with assistance, as a member of a larger social group (12 or more people).

What are some examples of reasonable accommodations available to promote successful participation in a program?

  • Ongoing training provided for support staff
  • An enhanced staff/participant ratio
  • Sign interpretation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Adaptive activity equipment and/or supplies
  • Use of companions
  • Large print/Braille
  • Disability and Sensitivity training
  • Notification  to instructors/program directors of participant’s disability accommodation information

What services are not included in when providing program access?

Program Access does not include the following:

  • Provision of a separate area or alternate activities for a significant portion (more than 25%) of the scheduled program
  • Exception to minimum compliance with the program’s rules and regulations, with or without accommodations, established for the safety of all program participants and staff
  • Hiring, selection, or guaranteed assignment of a specific staff member
  • Individualized therapy within a program
  • Provision and/or purchase of personal custom devices

However, support staff may be provided to enhance the existing recreation program by providing adaptations and/or behavioral interventions.

Is Program Access the right choice/experience for me/my child?

Observe the program first-hand and ask yourself…

  • Have you/your child shown an interest in the program activity or subject matter?
  • Are you (s/he) comfortable and able to function appropriately, with or without assistance, in various inclusive environments, such as malls, restaurants, parks (etc.)?
  • Does your (or your child’s) current activities or goals prepare you for an inclusive recreation experience? 

What is the process?

There is a simple process that must be performed when accommodations are needed:

  • Patron browses through and chooses programs and classes offered by Montgomery Parks (M-NCPPC)
  • Patron makes formal request for an Americans with Disabilities (ADA) accommodation by contacting  the Program Access office via e-mail or phone
  • The Program Access Specialist or Coordinator will follow up on request and contact the patron (usually by phone) to assess the needs of the patron
  • Program Access Specialist/Coordinator completes the Notification to Instructors form once the accommodation is in place and sends the information to the program supervisor in advance of the program start date
  • Patron is welcomed into the program or class or his or her choice, along with the disability accommodation provided
  • Program Access Specialist/Coordinator evaluates the disability accommodations provided, on-going

Accessibility and Non-Discrimination in M-NCPPC Programs and Services

Notice 15-01 provides patron guidance for requesting accommodations and addressing accessibility concerns for programs and services offered within the respective departments.  Components covered are:

  • Notice under the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Service Animals for People with Disabilities
  • Electronic Personal Assistive Mobility Devices
  • Accessible Seating under the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Grievance Procedure under the Americans with Disabilities Act

Please click here for Notice 15-01

Last Updated: March 16, 2017