Recreational therapy is focused on the idea of increasing a child’s independence and ability to function through participation in creative arts, sports, recreation programs, and puzzles or logic games. According to the American Therapeutic Recreation Association, recreational therapy “aims to improve an individual’s functioning and keep them as active, healthy and independent as possible in their chosen life pursuits.” Recreation therapy can be very beneficial for kids who are already in therapy but could use a different approach to help them reach their goals.
What is Recreational Therapy?
Recreation therapy can be anything that the child views as enjoyable or meaningful. This type of therapy is not just limited to playing sports or making music; any fun activity can hold positive benefits for a child’s mental and emotional wellbeing. Some common activities include:
- Performance arts such as music, dance, or drama
- Outdoor activities like hiking, boating, rock wall climbing
- Cooking or baking
- Animal-assisted activities such as horseback riding, dog walking, caring for a pet,
- Social activities such as clubs, group outings, or classes
- Relaxation activities such as mindfulness, deep breathing, or yoga
- Leisure activities like reading a book, playing computer games, or listening to music
Is Recreational Therapy Different than Other Therapies?
The therapy your child may be used to is called occupational therapy. Occupational therapy focuses on the physical and cognitive skills needed to function in daily life. This can include skills such as:
- making meals
- moving around the home
While recreational therapy may also help your child with these skills, the focus of recreational therapy is on leisure activities.
How Recreation Helps Children with Autism?
Participation in recreational programs has shown extensive benefits for children with autism. It can reduce behavioral and emotional disorders, help develop social skills, build relationships, improve physical and mental health, and help children develop their interests. Recreation is an important aspect of life. The skills children learn during play can be applied to all other areas of their life.
Carry Over These Skills at Home
If your child has access to organized recreational therapy, it is important to practice those same skills with your child at home. The strategies, techniques, and skills used in the program should be continuously implemented throughout the week in the child’s natural environment. The more that the strategies are used at home, the more of a benefit your child can gain from the program as a whole.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.