What We Do

NSSRA provides and facilitates year-round recreation programs and services for children, teens, and adults with disabilities.

NSSRA is an extension of ten park districts, two cities, and one village in the northern suburbs of Chicago. We have been creating an environment of belonging through play since 1970 and have the distinction as the first Special Recreation Association in the country.

We offer programs and services for people with disabilities of all ages that include:

  • Intellectual Disability
  • Developmental Disorder/Cognitive Delay
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Down Syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Seizure Disorder/Epilepsy
  • Physical Disability
  • Speech & Language Disorders
  • Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Learning Disability
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing/Visual Impairments
  • Cognitive Delay
  • Mental Health Needs
  • Other Disabilities

Benefits of Special Recreation

There are significant benefits to participating in NSSRA’s activities and services, including but not limited to:

  • Development of relationships and social skills
  • Opportunities for self-expression and higher self-esteem
  • Integration into the community
  • Greater independence
  • Improvement of cognitive and fine/gross motor skills
  • Better mental and physical health

Our Mission

Our mission is to enrich the lives of people with disabilities in our partner communities through quality recreation services.

Our Vision

Our vision is to be leaders in recreation by providing innovative and exceptional services for people with disabilities.

Our Core Values

Our core values are Compassion, Respect, Quality, Flexible, Accountable and Ethical Practices.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

NSSRA is committed to cultivating an inclusive, equitable and safe environment. NSSRA works to remove barriers by fostering a culture that embraces diversity and treats all people with dignity and respect.

Partner Agencies

NSSRA is an extension of ten park districts, two cities, and one village in the northern suburbs of Chicago. This partnership includes the Park Districts of Deerfield, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Lake Bluff, Northbrook, Northfield, Wilmette and Winnetka; the Cities of Highwood and Lake Forest; and the Village of Riverwoods.