Every year in the second week of July, National Therapeutic Recreation Week is celebrated in the US. It began in 1984, started by the National Therapeutic Recreation Society to help highlight the significance of engaging in activities that aid in the recovery of various forms of disabilities. Therapeutic recreation also encompasses holistic interventions for people suffering from cancer.
What Do Recreational Therapists Do?
Recreational therapists are responsible for working with a physician to help find activities that can assist patients with disabilities to better cope and maintain a positive sense of self-esteem. They are required to have a bachelor’s degree, usually in recreational therapy, and have courses specific to assistive technology and disease processes. Each program usually requires the student to complete several clinical hours or an internship in order to sit for the National Certification Exam. A certified therapeutic recreation specialist (CTRS) must recertify themselves every five years to remain active.
A CTRS helps develop the emotional and physical well being of the patients they serve through art, sports, and hobbies. Some specific activities for therapy include:
- Creative writing
- Painting and drawing
- Horticulture therapy
- Pet therapy
- Dance or movement therapy
Where Does a CRTS Work?
CTRS can be found working in hospitals, residential facilities, long term care, mental health centers, substance abuse rehabilitation programs, hospices, and even schools. They can also be hired for private practice out of the home.
Who Can Use the Services of a Recreational Therapist?
Anyone who is suffering from a debilitating disease can benefit from using a recreational therapist. They work with all ages and anyone on the autism spectrum. The elderly have a lot to benefit from the use of recreational therapists, as do patients suffering from cancer. The goals for treatment include increasing self-confidence by increasing physical strength and improving frame of mind.
How Can I Celebrate National Therapeutic Recreation Week?
It depends on the specialty you work in, but you can easily incorporate some of our ideas to celebrate National Therapeutic Recreation Week.
For starters, you can recognize your organization by promoting disability awareness. Some other ideas include holding sports tournaments where people with disabilities are encouraged to play, distributing information, and planning a walk where each person pairs up with a friend or family member who suffers from a disability. Hold a lunch and learn to promote recreation ideas to members of your team. Any event that brings awareness to the field and encourages healthy movement and mind are welcome.
Collaborating with Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists will make an immense difference in the therapeutic goals set for patients. They are proving to be an integral part of the patient’s treatment plan as they increase self-expression and help improve the mind-body connection and most importantly build self-esteem for our patients suffering from disabilities.