Therapeutic Recreation Services for Children with Autism
“For children with autism, playing with others isn’t as simple as picking up a ball or bat. They often require specially trained recreational therapists to learn activites. Consider exploring therapeutic recreation services.” - Gregory Ruel
Portland, ME — Living with autism is a constant exploration in training and adapting for most children on the spectrum. Activities that typically developing children inherently understand or pick up with little trouble are a burden and often confusing for children with autism. Fortunately, children on the spectrum have access to specially trained recreational therapists who can guide a child to learn to swim, horseback ride, climb, or engage in any other number of activities.
One example of therapeutic recreation is teaching a child with autism to learn to swim. Specially trained recreational therapists will work with the parents and child to create goals that will help gain sensory regulation and strengthen his muscles while the child learns to swim. These programs typically have a 1:1 ratio and can be great for focus, strength and self-esteem in addition to learning a skill like swimming.
Another popular program is therapeutic horseback riding. Many caregivers of those afflicted with autism report the enjoyment experienced by those children who learn to ride horseback. Typically, agencies employing recreational therapists also offer teen groups, cooking classes, arts and crafts, and adult social groups, among other activities that provide recreational opportunities for those with autism, Aspbergers, and other special needs.
Gregory Ruel (Portland, Maine)
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