Recreational Therapy

HCT offers Recreational Therapy to children and adults affected by Cerebral Palsy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, Elder Care Needs, and other special needs. Recreational Therapists work with clients to restore motor, social, and cognitive functioning; build confidence; develop coping skills; and integrate skills learned in treatment settings into community settings. Intervention areas vary widely and are based upon client interests. Examples of intervention modalities include creative arts (e.g., crafts, music, dance, and drama), sports, adventure programming, and leisure education. For an overview of Recreational Therapy services offered by HCT and to learn how to begin receiving these services please explore the following list of key questions and answers.

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What is Recreational Therapy?

Recreational Therapy encompasses the delivery of treatment designed to rehabilitate an individual’s level of independence and functioning, to promote health and well-being, and to address activity restrictions caused by an illness or chronic condition. Recreational Therapists work to improve a client’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and social functioning as well as help clients overcome barriers to independence and leisure. Some examples of Recreational Therapy techniques include sports, arts & crafts, movement, and everyday tasks.

What clients do Recreational Therapists serve?

HCT’s Recreational Therapists serve a wide range of clients with special needs including children and adults with Cerebral Palsy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Post-Surgery Rehabilitation, and the Elderly. Recreational therapists will design a customized recreational treatment plan based on each client’s individual capabilities and goals.

What clients do Recreational Therapists serve?

HCT’s Recreational Therapists serve a wide range of clients with special needs including children and adults with Cerebral Palsy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Post-Surgery Rehabilitation, and the Elderly. Recreational therapists will design a customized recreational treatment plan based on each client’s individual capabilities and goals.

How are Recreational Therapy Services different from other types of therapy?

Recreational Therapy services are different from the other services provided by HCT through their focus on the enhancement of all physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and leisure aspects of the individual client. The goal of Recreational therapy is to enable clients to effectively participate independently in chosen life pursuits. A primary function of Recreational Therapy is the incorporation of the client’s individual interests into the therapy strategy. The element of individualization within the field of Recreational Therapy is a fundamental factor in its ability to impact all aspects of a client’s achievement.

What are the Benefits of Recreational Therapy?

The Physical Benefits of Recreational Therapy:

  • Focus on Mobility

The Psychological Benefits of Aquatic Therapy:

  • Increased confidence
  • Pain and stress relief
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Focus on relaxation
  • Socialization
  • Improved Self-esteem

What are a Recreational Therapist’s Education, Qualifications, and Credentials?

A qualified Recreational Therapist is one who is nationally certified as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), usually referred to as a Recreational Therapist. Qualified professionals are certified through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC, http://www.nctrc.org), which requires a Bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited university, a formal internship, and the passing of a national certification examination. In addition, a CTRS must maintain their credential every five years through the NCTRC re-certification process.

What is the process for receiving Recreational Therapy Services from Health Care Therapies?

In order to receive Recreational Therapy services from HCT a client evaluation must first be scheduled. An HCT therapist will meet with the client and their family to discuss the client’s overall health as well as their capabilities, goals, and challenges they experience. After the initial client evaluation, HCT therapists work with the client as well as the client’s family and doctors to create a comprehensive treatment plan that will benefit the client to help them reach their goals. The customized treatment plan may feature various components including Massage Therapy, Recreational Therapy, Music Therapy, and Aquatic Therapy. The aquatic components of a client’s treatment plan are performed in a swimming pool and feature a series of supervised exercises which include stretching and coordinated movements, often with the use of a floatation device or life jacket. The aquatic treatment plan is designed to gradually expand an individual’s strength, coordination, flexibility, stamina, and other measurable goals. The ultimate goal of a successful aquatic treatment plan is to help the client eventually learn to replicate or repeat the exercises and movements learned in the water on land – greatly improving the client’s independence and quality of life. The exercises include, but are not limited to:
  • Shallow walking or running in knee- or ankle-deep water
  • Deep water walking or running with broad strides while standing in chest- or waist-deep water
  • Kicking against water while holding onto the side of the pool
  • Ai chi (water-based tai chi)
  • Swimming
  • Water-based yoga