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Autism and Pediatric Recreational Therapy

How can recreational therapy help children with autism?

Recreational Therapy also is known and referred to as therapeutic recreation is a form of therapy that focuses on delivering interventions based on five health domains through recreational and leisure activities. The five health domains that a recreational therapist focuses on are Physical, Social, Emotional, Cognitive, and Spiritual. Some examples of a child with autism can benefit from working with a recreational therapist can range from improvement in their gross & fine motor skills, social skills, life skills, cognitive skills, sensory improvement, self-regulation, and maladaptive behaviors. In addition to improving the child's functionality, recreational therapy can also help the individual improve their self-esteem and confidence to help them integrate into community programs and sports through leisure education.

When working with a recreational therapist not all programs have to be based around functionality or recreational and leisure activities. Some programs can focus on specific movements through obstacle courses or treatment, individual physical programs, role-playing programs, and educational programs. One of the advantages of having an intervention based around a recreation activity is the activity is typically based around the interests of the child which makes it a lot easier for the child to participate in their program outside of their therapist or when funding may run out.

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