What is a Recreation Therapist?
A recreation therapist uses a variety of interventions to improve the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social needs of their clients. Recreational therapists assist clients to develop skill, knowledge and behaviors for daily living and community involvement. The therapist works with the client/patient and their family to incorporate specific interests and community resources into therapy to achieve optimal outcomes that transfer to their real life situation.
Research supports the notion that people with active, satisfying lifestyles will be happier and healthier. Recreational therapy provides services which are based on the individual's interests and lifestyle which allows them to better engage in therapy and apply these functional improvements to all areas of their life.
Recreational therapists must complete a minimum of a bachelor's degree in the field to meet national and state licensing requirements.
Certified Therapeutic Specialists (CTRS)
Certified Therapeutic Specialists are recognized in the regulation of I.D.E.A. (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). CTRS's utilize play, recreation and leisure activities to help develop functional skills, activities of daily living, and academic skill in the following domains:
- Cognitive: by increasing short and long learn memory; attention span; and decision making, problem-solving, and planning skills
- Physical: by improving perceptual motor skills, balance, agility, and athletic skills
- Behavioral: by increasing the ability to make age-appropriate activity/participation choices in inclusive community settings, and by decreasing self-stimulating stereotypic, self abusive, or other non-adaptive or inappropriate behaviors
- Social: by increasing skills in conversation, assertiveness, cooperation, sharing, and competition
- Affective: by improving emotional health through the reduction of depression, stress and anxiety, and increasing self-concept, self esteem and adjustment to their disability.
CRTS's typically work with a variety of professionals on a team to develop appropriate activities. Individual assessments are done to determine the needs and abilities of the individuals. Activities are used to promote health, growth development, and independence through self rewarding leisure pursuits.