Recreational therapy, also referred to as recreation therapy and therapeutic recreation, contributes to the broad spectrum of
health carethrough treatment, education, and the provision of adapted recreational opportunities — all of which aid in improving and maintaining physical, cognitive, emotional, and social functioning, preventing secondary health conditions, enhancing independent livingskills and overall quality of life.
Recreational therapists, also known as Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS), provide treatment services and recreation activities to individuals with disabilities or illnesses. Treatment services utilize leisure activities to diminish or eliminate disabling conditions. These conditions may include physical, cognitive, social, emotional, spiritual, or other areas which limit the individual. The recreational therapist may use a variety of techniques, including arts and crafts, animals, sports, games, dance and movement, drama, music, and community reintegration outings. [ [http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos082.htm BLS Website] ] A recreational therapist works with the client, their family members and other close friends to improve their health condition.
Recreation Therapists provide a variety of interventions including, but not limited to:
leisure counselling, values clarification, bibliotherapy, cinematherapy, horticulture therapy, therapeutic community, humor, therapeutic use of touch, relaxation techniques, physical activity, aromatherapy, tai chi, assertiveness training, social skillstraining, cognitive rehabilitation, animal-assisted therapy, aquatic therapy, creative arts, reality orientation, validation therapy, remotivation, resocialization, sensory training, self-esteemtraining and reminiscence. Fact|date=April 2007
A recreational therapist may also provide leisure education. Leisure education is aimed at providing clients with information to help return to a meaningful leisure lifestyle. This may include information related to topics such as adapted sports, motivational techniques, implementing healthy and active lifestyles, leisure availability, community programs, transportation options, support networks, and appropriate leisure options to drugs and alcohol abuse.
Recreational therapists work in a variety of agencies and organizations. The possibilities include acute care
hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, community recreation centers, pediatric hospitals, group homes, senior centers, community health centers, public and private schools, correctional facilities and private practice.
Recreational Therapists must graduate from a 4-year, Bachelor's Degree program. Universities and colleges, both nationally and internationally, offer Bachelor and Masters of Science degrees in Parks and Recreation Management with tracks in Recreational Therapy, degrees in Recreational Therapy/Therapeutic Recreation, and online courses in Recreational Therapy [ [http://rtonline.fiu.edu RT Online] ] required to sit for the national certification exam to become a Certified Therapeutic Specialist (CTRS). There are currently over 100 colleges/universities which offer degree programs in Therapeutic Recreation. [ [http://www.recreationtherapy.com/trcollg.htm Colleges with Therapeutic Recreation Programs ] ]
National Therapeutic Recreation Society[ [http://www.nrpa.org/content/default.aspx?documentId=530 National Therapeutic Recreation Society website] ] and the American Therapeutic Recreation Association[ [http://www.atra-tr.org American Therapeutic Recreation Association] ] offer its members organizations much like other certified professions.clarifyme The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification[ [http://www.nctrc.org/ National Therapeutic Recreation Certification] ] , a charter member of the National Organization for Competency Assurance(NOCA), also provides a certification that expires after 5 years. Those who are certified must apply for recertification at the end of the expiration period. Most recreational therapist make a rough estimate of $16.90 an hour and $35,150 a year.Fact|date=March 2008
* [http://www.atra-tr.org American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA)]
* [http://www.nrpa.org/content/default.aspx?documentId=530 National Therapeutic Recreation Society (NTRS)]
* [http://www.recreationtherapy.com/ Therapeutic Recreation Directory]
* [http://www.recreationtherapy.net/ Recreation Therapy Blog]
* [http://www.recreationtherapystore.com/ Therapeutic Recreation Store]
* [http://www.tr-ecards.com/ Therapeutic Recreation eCards]
* [http://www.nctrc.org/ National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC)]
* [http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos082.htm U.S. Department of Labor: Recreation Therapist]
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