CET Standard of the Month  

Standards 9 and 21: Leisure

Leisure time is that part of the individuals’ free time that can be used to:

  • engage in fun and enjoyable activities
  • pursue personal interests in a relaxed and enjoyable manner
  • participate in the same types of leisure activities as people without disabilities

For staff to know how to support individuals during their leisure time, they need to understand what type of leisure activities the individual enjoys. For examples, they might prefer:

  • spending time with friends (e.g., dining together, travelling together, walking together)
  • secluded activities such as staying at home and watching TV
  • playing online video games with online friends, or talking to people on social media

Note: for online activities, there needs to be discussions around the need for caution when:

  • using social media and the internet
  • using online credit or ordering from unknown businesses
  • choosing to meet with or invite over people the individuals don’t know

Staff also need to know why the individuals want to do a particular leisure activity. For example, it might be because they:

  • enjoy the activity
  • want to give back to their families, friends or communities
  • want to gain experience (e.g., art, music, game playing strategies)

The individuals’ leisure time will always be separate from their employment, alternatives to employment, volunteer work, and/or formal training time. Individuals who take part in independent leisure opportunities may not want or need staff to accompany them.
When considering factors that might affect an individuals’ leisure time, it is important for staff to help individuals work through unfamiliar issues, such as:

  • the cost of going to a concert
  • transportation options to go to a neighbouring town for a party

For individuals to enjoy their free time in a way that is personally fulfilling, they need to be given information about their options and opportunities to experience their choices. They might also need support to develop relevant skills.
Staff also need to have contingency plans in place to address unexpected changes to the individuals’ scheduled leisure activities. Contingency plans might include:

  • using relief staff
  • arranging for alternate transportation
  • planning to have alternate activities on hand