I attended the School Section session this year because I’m interested in learning more about this area.
Amanda Chamberlain, CTRS/ L was the presenter for this session. She discussed several aspects.
I’ve decided I’m going to take initiative and help with this area because it is something I feel passionate about. I’ve set a personal committment to do research and submit an article for the ATRA newsletter.
Some of my past experience in this area:
My professor in undergraduate school (in 2002), Dr. Ted Muilenburg had set a goal of 55 by 2005, which meant one recreational therapist for each the 55 county school districts in West Virginia. However, I’m not aware of any recreational therapists working in the school system in West Virginia at this time (in 2018). I still have the goal of getting rec therapy in West Virginia public schools. Dr. Muilenburg, one of my mentors had shared, “first a dream, then act, then the dream becomes a fact.”
There are recreational therapists working in school systems in several other states.
Recreational therapy in a school setting wouldn’t be for all children. It would be for children who need it.
Special education and speech therapy are examples of services provided in schools for those kids who need the services.
Recreational therapy in the schools would be appropriate for children with needs in these domains:
- Interpersonal (social) skill needs. An example might be a child with Autism who lacks friends.
- Affect (emotion) regulating needs. An example might be a child with anxiety
- Physical health limitations and needs. An example might be a child with impaired mobility or movement.
- Intellectual disability or other learning needs. An example might be a child with a learning disability, like dyslexia, or a child with lower IQ.
Children in public schools with special needs have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Recreational therapy is on IEPs for some school districts in America.
Recreational therapists provide interventions to assist children with maintaining and improving several domains.
Recreational therapists can provide activity-based interventions to help children in schools to:
- Build interpersonal effectiveness skills
- Emotion regulation skills
- Build confidence and abilities
- Maintain and or/ improve mobility
- Maintain and improve Physical health, wellness, and strength
- Improve intellectual functioning
There is so much that can be done in the schools.
Advocacy is the best thing that can take place at this time.
The best advocate for services is parents on a mission to help their child.
A parent wants the best services for their child and they are willing to go to the top and ask for it.
Danny Pettry (founder of RecTherapyToday) has been a good-standing member of ATRA since 1999. Pettry is not a hired spokesperson for ATRA. Pettry is not an elected ATRA Board member. Pettry is a Lifetime Member of ATRA who volunteers his time to assist with several ATRA committees. Danny Pettry provided his best efforts in preparing blog entries. It is noted that Pettry does not speak on behalf of ATRA. Danny Pettry does encourage readers like you to join ATRA.
Los Angeles Unified has 16 Full Time Recreation Therapists. We have about 500 students receiving RT services as part of their IEP’s. Currently, another 75 are being assessed.