In many cases, children who require therapy are more likely to be fully involved in such regimens if they are engaged and interested in the therapy itself. Recreational therapy specifically integrates fun activities (such as horseback riding, adaptive sports or music) with therapeutic elements to help children both enjoy their time and gain maximum physical, social, and emotional benefit from the activity. There are numerous organizations that host after-school and camp-based recreational therapy for children with disabilities. While the following is just a very small sampling of activities for children with special needs, it illustrates the diversity of recreational therapy techniques:
Recreational therapists can work in a wide variety of settings, including healthcare agencies, hospitals and traditional health care facilities, residential facilities, community mental health centers, adult day care programs, community centers and in individual school districts. While not mandatory, recreational therapists can choose to undergo credentialing via the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC). They must, however, undergo licensure in the states that currently have licensure laws.
While many recreational therapy programs are geared towards children, this is not the case for all recreational therapy programs. The Veteran’s Health Administration provides such services for U.S. veterans, and adult programs such as day centers and community recreation organizations often have recreational therapy programs or classes for older individuals with disabilities.