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Understanding Recreation Therapy

There’s a happy feeling that comes from doing a fun activity. Recreational Therapy uses enjoyable activities and natural-environment learning to develop and improve functional skills that can be used in everyday life. Each therapy plan will be created according to the needs and goals of each client, complimenting other therapies including speech, occupational, and physical therapies. Our approach is holistic and strength-based, benefitting the client in many ways. Recreational Therapy is available for kids and adults with physical, developmental, and cognitive disabilities, as well as those with mental illness, behavioral disorders, and more. 

Recreation Therapists use activity participation to help clients:

  • Cope with anxiety and stress 

  • Encourage decision making, control and choices

  • Decrease isolation 

  • Facilitate self-expression

  • Increase or maintain developmental skills

  • Increase social skills and peer interaction

  • Learn adaptive techniques during recreation

  • Learn and develop appropriate communication skills

  • Learn and reinforce boundaries

  • Improve strength, endurance and activity level

  • Increase functional play and leisure skills

  • Explore and learn new leisure skills

  • Increase knowledge of community accessibility and resources

  • Increase functional skills in the community setting

  • Increase ability to handle sensory stimulation

  • Develop planning skills and increase confidence in participation


Individuals are taught coping skills and relaxation techniques to help deal with big emotions and the stress of life.  


Individuals learn to make choices and develop decision making skills through opportunities during each session to not only make choices but give feedback on those choices.  



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Individuals are given the opportunities to meet peers and learn skills for making and keeping friends.  Group activities and cooperative projects help to reinforce the importance of friendships and proper social skills.  

The opportunities to create, express themselves, and be involved in group projects gives individuals opportunities to build self-esteem, develop fine motor skills, and express their individuality.  

Sports and other leisure activities provide limitless opportunities for clients to increase activity and fitness levels, join group activities, learn how to follow directions, work on gross motor skills, and enjoy the outdoors.  

Introducing individuals to new sights, smells, tastes, and environments gives their brains the opportunity to create new neural pathways, and learn how to better handle new situations and stimulations.  

The ability to feel at ease in a community setting gives individuals a huge sense of self-confidence, as well as more interest in trying new things and experiencing new environments.   


Communication skills and eye contact help individuals to portray confidence and develop friendships and opportunities for socialization.  

The opportunity to follow directions and complete projects gives individuals a huge sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.  Being able to follow directions serves clients well in all situations.  

Playing cooperative games and getting individuals more active also helps them to develop gross motor skills and teamwork.  

Understanding emotions and being able to have a plan for dealing with big emotions helps our clients to be more successful at home and in community settings.  

Learning how to spend within a budget, or even getting comfortable being responsible for holding their own money can help clients feel more confident and comfortable handling money.  

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