February marks this year’s International Recreational Therapy/Therapeutic Recreation (RT/TR) Month. To celebrate, we’d like to share the purpose and some of the benefits of RT/TR. Although RT/TR and Activities seem like just fun and games, there is a purpose for each intervention/activity. This purpose includes promoting and enhancing the quality of life of participants; offering activities that are meaningful to each participant; enhancing or maintaining cognitive and/or physical abilities; promoting emotional and psychosocial well-being; providing opportunities for socialization, creative expression, decision making, choice, and responsibility; facilitating religious or spiritual expression; offering solace and relaxation; increasing fun, pleasure, and enjoyment; providing opportunities to share common interests, cultures, and experiences; promoting independence and decreasing learned helplessness; and providing opportunities to learn new skills, adapt old skills, and enjoy new leisure activities. The benefits of RT/TR and Activities include improved cognitive skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, decision making, memory skills, and attention span; physical skills such as fine/gross motor skills, endurance, hand/eye coordination, sleep patterns, and skin integrity; emotional well-being including socialization and motivation, self-esteem, opportunity for creative expression, and decreased depression and boredom; and a decrease in behavioral issues such as wandering, Sundown Syndrome, agitation, anxiety, and repetitive motions. Some of the activities that you may see or experience in an RT/TR and Activities program include bingo, arts and crafts, music programs, table games, news hours, exercise programs (including chair yoga and chair Tai Chi), horseback riding, swimming, and outings to restaurants, museums, art galleries, theaters, and more!
We ran a search in REHABDATA and found over 300 articles on RT/TR and how it benefits people with disabilities. Here is just a sample:
- Systematic review of leisure therapy and its effectiveness in managing functional outcomes in stroke rehabilitation. (NARIC Accession Number: J68470).
- Competitive Dance for individuals with disabilities. (NARIC Accession Number: J68383).
- Crafts as memory triggers in reminiscence: A case study of older women with dementia. (NARIC Accession Number: J70083).
- Using music therapy principles to enhance physical activity participation in children and adolescents with disabilities. (NARIC Accession Number: J67419).
NIDRR currently has the following projects doing research on RT/TR:
- Increasing Community Participation in Adults with Schizophrenia. (H133G130137).
- Interactive Exercise Technologies and Exercise Physiology for People with Disabilities. (H133E120005).
- Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Community Living. (H133B110006).
For more information on research related to RT/TR, you can search in REHABDATA. Share with us how you are celebrating International RT/TR Month.