• Announcement: Our 2021 Summer Digital Only Program Guide is now available for viewing!

Welcome to Special Recreation

Our Mission

To serve as an integral partner with our cooperative districts and villages to positively impact individuals with disabilities through diverse recreation opportunities and community services

Special Recreation offers a wide range of programs throughout the year, for youth through seniors of all ability levels. Program descriptions and registration information are available in the Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer brochures. Brochures are available at member park district or city recreation department offices and the Special Recreation office at 4625 W. 110th St. Oak Lawn, IL 60453 or you can call us at (708) 857-2200 and we will gladly put you on a mailing list.

IAPD/IPRA Healthy Play Grant Winner

Congratulations to the Oak Lawn Park District for being a recipient of a playground matching grant through Illinois Park and Recreation Association, Playcore and their affiliates GameTime and Cunningham Recreation. The grant will be used for an Inclusive Playground project at Columbus Manor Park. More information to come!

Registration & Programming During The Pandemic

Please read guidelines for participation below. 

  1. Each program will have a participant maximum with 2-3 staff present.
  2. Participants must be able to follow verbal directions, understand social distancing & require no hands on assistance.
  3. Participants must be able to function in a 1:6 ratio (Staff: Participant).  Participants must not have emotional outbursts that will require 1:1 staffing support.  The Oak Lawn Park District reserves the right to determine if this program is appropriate for an individual.
  4. Face coverings must be worn by participants and staff at all times.  No face coverings will be provided by the park district.  Participants must be able to properly put on, wear & take off face covering when necessary.  If a participant shows up without a face covering they will be unable to participate in the program.
  5. Participants must be able to do all personal care (hygiene, toileting, and eating) independently with no hands on assistance.
  6. Participants & staff must be able to adhere to a strict hand washing schedule.
  7. Staff will clean & disinfect frequently touched/used equipment before and after each program & in between uses of different individuals.
  8. OLPDSR will take measures to promote 6 foot physical distancing, such as assigned seats, outdoor activities, and traffic flow patterns.
  9. Participants and staff displaying symptoms of illness during the program will be removed from the group and an adult will be required to pick them up within 15 minutes of notification.  Participants will be supervised once removed from the group.  Please be sure to provide multiple emergency contacts to ensure the participant can be picked up immediately if the need arises.
  10. If participants have illnesses like allergies, or other non-contagious conditions that may appear similar to a contagious illness, a note from a physician stating they are not contagious is required prior to attending the program.
  11. Participants who have been exposed to or in close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 may only return to programs after it has been 14 days from the time of the exposure.
  12. Participants diagnosed with or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 may only return to programming after it has been 10 days from the time they have experienced symptoms, do not have a fever for 3 days (without taking medication to reduce fever) and have improvement in their respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath).  Alternately a participant may return to programs after 2 negative COVID-19 tests in a row, with testing done 24 hours apart.  (Tests will not be issued by the OLPD).
  13. To protect your participant and those they interact with, participants that do not adhere to program rules & the above guidelines may be removed from programs.
  14. We understand that our initial in-person offerings will only serve a percentage of all who want to return to programs.  We will continue to offer virtual programs in order to include more participants. 


Oak Lawn Park District invites people with disabilities of all ages to consider a Special Recreation program... The Benefits Are Endless!

At Oak Lawn Park District Special Recreation seasonal brochure is the best way to get an idea of all that Spec. Rec. has to offer. To obtain a brochure, call the office at 708-857-2200 or stop by your park district, recreation department.

A Few Notes About Registration:

Although some programs are offered according to disability classifications, these classifications are only considered recommendations. If the participant meets the social, physical, behavioural and age requirements of any program, he or she can register for it.

Registration is conducted on a first-come, first-served basis. Residents of Oak Lawn and Coop. districts who register prior to the deadline have priority over out-of-district participants. Out-of-district residents are welcome to register for all programs, however a non-resident fee is charged. Each program description in the brochure lists the out-of-district fee.

Cooperative Location

Situated in the South suburban Chicago, Illinois, Oak Lawn Park District Special Recreation serves communities in Cook counties.

The park districts and cities that form the Oak Lawn Park District Special Recreation cooperative are:

  • Bridgeview
  • Burbank
  • Chicago Ridge
  • Crestwood
  • Evergreen Park
  • Justice
  • Hometown
  • Palos Hills
  • Summit


Oak Lawn welcomes participants of all ages and ability levels in programs. Preschoolers, children, teens, adults and senior adults can realize the benefits of involvement in recreation activities. Programs are designed with a close staff-to-participant ratio to assist people with disabilities in achieving their greatest success. Program adaptations to accommodate a physical limitation are common in our adapted sports and fitness programs. Many programs for people with mental disabilities enhance socialization and foster independence. Activities for youth-at-risk promote cooperation and social skills in a therapeutic and challenging setting. In keeping with the goals of each program, our #1 objective is to offer fun!


Special Recreation offers a wide range of programs throughout the year, for youth through seniors of all ability levels. Program descriptions and registration information are available in the Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer brochures. Brochures are available at member park district or city recreation department offices, and the Special Recreation office at 4625 W. 110th St. Oak Lawn, IL 60453 Or you can call us at (708)857-2200 and we will gladly put you on a mailing list.

Weekly Programs

Sports, cultural, outdoor, social and motor development programs are offered each season for sessions ranging from eight to twelve weeks in length.

Special Events

One day outings to local and regional sites offer fun on holidays, school days off, and other days throughout the year. Special Recreation staff and participants explore many of Chicagoland's newest recreation attractions.


Trips for groups of varying ages and abilities provide experiences ranging from camping to hotel stays, regionally and nationally.


Summer day camps give children and teens a chance to make new friends, try new activities and enjoy the summer season. Full day camps are offered, along with half day camps in conjunction with some summer school programs.


We at the Oak Lawn Park District understand that not every person with a special need or disability condition requires Special Recreation programming. We will be happy to advise or assist residents who wish to participate in the Oak Lawn Park District recreation department programs. We strongly encourage integration, as this inclusive recreation environment provides our residents with even greater options for their leisure time. We want to make each and every experience you share with our park district, safe and positive.Support Services may include, but are not limited to:

  • One-to-one consultation
  • In-service training with park district and recreation department staff
  • Assistance through the use of Inclusion Aide
  • Provisions of community resources

Note: These services are provided at no cost, but we do ask that you fill out the Inclusion Request Form (Available at Oak View Center) two weeks prior to the beginning of the program. That is to ensure we are able to find an inclusion aide to assist you or your child. We are committed to doing everything possible to make your inclusion experience a successful one.

Special Olympics

Special Recreation provides quality Special Olympics training programs in several sports for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Individual athletes and teams compete locally, and in Illinois Special Olympics competition at the Area 7 regional level and the state level.

Oak Lawn Special Recreation offers training and competition opportunities in these sports:

  • Aquatics
  • Alpine skiing
  • Basketball
  • Bocce Ball
  • Bowling
  • Floor Hockey
  • Golf (Unified)
  • Power Lifting
  • Gymnastics
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Track & Field
  • Volleyball (Unified)

Over 150 athletes benefit from proper instruction and training, physical conditioning, socializing and being part of the team. The sports are coached by professional staff and/or highly experienced or Special Olympics certified part-time staff and volunteers.

We were recently featured on Comcast SportsNet

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