Individuals with disabilities get connected at NWSRA

  • An NWSRA participant utilizes the TapIt whiteboard at the NWSRA Dream Lab Accessible Technology Center in Rolling Meadows earlier in the year.Maria Sposito

    An NWSRA participant utilizes the TapIt whiteboard at the NWSRA Dream Lab Accessible Technology Center in Rolling Meadows earlier in the year.Maria Sposito

Brian Selders
Updated 4/8/2020 8:28 AM

On Friday, March 20, Governor Pritzker issued the Stay at Home Order, immediately closing the doors at Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA) office for hundreds of individuals with disabilities who were accustomed to seeing their friends on a Friday night, playing basketball with their team, or attending their weekly sensory therapy session. The sense of fear and isolation mounted for these individuals. NWSRA recognized its essential responsibility toward maintaining and providing access to recreational programs and services for individuals with disabilities that live within its 17 northwest suburban communities. NWSRA staff headed home and regrouped the next day, and by Tuesday, March 24, the online NWSRA Activity Center was born.

In order to improve quality of life for individuals with disabilities who found themselves isolated, the NWSRA Activity Center, found at, provides a wide variety of activities, games and videos established by Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS). Fortunately for individuals with disabilities in the northwest suburbs, these staff have the education, skills and training necessary to continue providing therapeutic services to individuals who require individual or small group support through this difficult time.


Expanding upon the Activity Center, NWSRA then unveiled its live and pre-recorded Virtual Programming lineup for Spring. Through activity-based interventions, programs improve and maintain the physical, cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual functioning of individuals with disabilities. Programming is provided within individual, small group and large group settings. Programs are held on a weekly basis, including cooking, crafts, fitness, reading, sensory, social and much more. Programs began on Monday, April 6 and run through Friday, May 29. The Virtual Programming brochure may also be accessed at

NWSRA Executive Director Tracey Crawford stated "We are so grateful for the continued support of NWSRA Board Members and their Boards, who recognize the essential importance of reducing anxiety, stress, behaviors and enhancing skills of individuals with disabilities through this difficult time."

In addition, NWSRA full time Recreation Therapists have been in contact with hundreds of families via personal phone calls during this time to assess needs and find new creative ways to deliver the important physical, cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual programming for the individuals with disabilities who are isolated from the community. "NWSRA looks forward to continuing to deliver outstanding recreational programming for individuals with disabilities during this unprecedented time." stated Crawford.


Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA) provides outstanding opportunities through recreation for children and adults with disabilities. NWSRA has grown tremendously over its 46 year history. NWSRA provides over 2,000 recreational programs and serves over 6,000 individuals with disabilities annually. NWSRA has received the National Recreation and Park Association Excellence in Inclusion Award, given to one organization throughout the nation that has proven its leadership in the promotion of inclusion and diversity initiatives. NWSRA serves 17 Northwest suburban communities, providing day camps, weekly programs, trips, special events, cultural arts and more. For more information on NWSRA, visit or contact Brian Selders at 847-392-2848 or e-mail

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