This week (2nd week of July) is National Therapeutic Recreation Week across the U.S.
But what is therapeutic recreation?
Therapeutic recreation programs are activities created for people with disabilities or illnesses to assist in restoring, maintaining or improving their physical and emotional well-being, so they can participate independently in life activities (again).
These programs are planned and directed by recreational therapists, who are specialists with at minimum a bachelor’s degree and 14 weeks of training to become certified. Therapists may be working closely with medical personnel like physicians, social workers, and physical therapists. Recreational therapists are different from recreation workers, who organize activities for the purpose of enjoyment only.
A therapist can use arts and crafts, movement, music, sports and field trips and more, to engage people in activities that may help reduce their depression, stress or anxiety, as well as recovering basic motor skills. Fieldtrips teach people how to use community resources, such as parks and public transportation. The purpose is to recover basic abilities that in turn help (re)build confidence and coping skills, easing people with disabilities into becoming part of a community again.
Where are these services accessed?
Recreational therapy is provided in a variety of places, ranging from centers of rehabilitation and substance abuse, to special education departments and assisted living facilities.
To find out how you can participate in Cobb County, visit http://prca.cobbcountyga.gov/therapeutic.htm.