Inclusion Services

Our Commitment to Inclusion

The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago works to create a positive environment for all of its members, including those with disabilities. Anyone with a disability can request a modification when they enroll as a member. This connects members, families, and guardians with our Inclusion Department whose job is to make each member feel welcome and supported.
  • Any individual with a disability is eligible to request a modification in order to participate as a member of the Y.
  • A member, parent, or guardian knows that an individual with a disability may benefit from some additional support(s) within the Y’s facilities or programs.  Also a Y team member might identify the need for additional support for safety or program-specific purposes.
  • Modification requests can be made on all of the Y’s registration platforms:

    Online: Before you check out and complete your registration, you can request a modification.

    Paper Forms: Find the modification request on your paper form and select ‘Yes’.

    In-person: Notify a YMCA staff member when you register that a modification is needed due to a disability.

    Modifications can be requested at any time during your participation at the YMCA. You can notify your program’s Director, or you can reach out to our Inclusion Department at [email protected].
  • Requesting a modification connects members, families, or guardians with our Inclusion Department.  They will speak with you about the person’s  skills, interests, and areas where they need support.  Then the Inclusion Department will create a plan with ways that the program team can best support this member.    These plans offer disability-related resources as well as various strategies to support participation.
  • Typically, within 48 hours of a request, the Inclusion Department will reach out to you via email to schedule a call to discuss modifications.

    Planning and preparing are essential steps to providing modifications for an individual. Please understand that modifications and support may not be immediately available, but the Inclusion Department and program teams will work as quickly as possible to support our members. 
  • Modifications are provided on a case-by-case basis and may include: 
    • Disability-Related Resources to Y Program Teams
    • Collaborating with the Y’s Behavior Support Manager and Creating Behavior Support Plans
    • Providing of American Sign Language Interpreters
    • Offering Lower Staff-to-Participant Program Ratios (depending on the need and availability)
    • Observing Programs to Suggest Additional Supports 
  • The Y may provide 1:1 support based on an individual need and the resources available at the time of the request.

    When available, inclusion aides may be hired to support an individual with disabilities within YMCA programs. Efforts are made to secure staff with special education and/or disability experience; however, aides may have limited or no previous experience. 

    Inclusion aides are not provided for non-program purposes, including:
    • General Membership and Facility Use
    • Birthday Parties or Rentals
    • User Group Programming
    • Open Gym or Open Swim/Lap Swim
    • Fitness Center Use
    • Drop-In services (i.e. babysitting; KidZone; Family Activity Center; etc)
    • Private Instruction or Tutoring
    • Therapeutic Interventions or Respite Services 
  • Program participants are expected to meet the program eligibility requirements. Program eligibility requirements include: age restrictions, program capacity limits, enrollment fees, and  minimum competencies or prerequisite requirements. 

    Program participants are expected to understand and follow the program’s general behavior expectations with or without modifications.

    Program participants are expected to be willing and able to participate in a majority of a program’s activities with or without modifications.

    Program participants are expected to conduct themselves in a safe and appropriate manner within the group setting, with or without modifications.
  • No. Any questions regarding program-specific information  including, but not limited to program schedules, content, transportation arrangements, and registration and fees - should be directed to the Program Director or Program Coordinator at your enrolled site.
  • Absolutely! The Inclusion Department can be reached via email at [email protected]