University Presentation Showcase: Graduate Division

Project Title

The Benefits of Recreational Therapy for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Presenter Hometown

Bowling Green, KY

Major

Recreation Therapy

Department

Recreation and Park Administration

Degree

Graduate

Mentor

Michelle Gerken, Ph.D., CTRS

Mentor Department

Recreation and Park Administration

Abstract

According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviors” (2018, para. 1). The prevalence rate for autism spectrum disorder is about one in fifty-four children and does not discriminate among backgrounds (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). Several methods have been used to treat ASD; however, recreational therapy stands out because it focuses on improving the quality of life in its clients. According to the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA), recreational therapy is a “…treatment service designed to restore, remediate and rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and independence in life activities, to promote health and wellness as well as reduce or eliminate the activity limitations and restrictions to participation in life situations caused by an illness or disabling condition” (ATRA, n.d.). The purpose of this study was to identify the benefits of recreational therapy for people with ASD and acknowledge the implications for future service delivery. For this study, several articles were analyzed in an attempt to identify benefits of recreational therapy for people with ASD and acknowledge some interventions and/or activities that have proven to be effective in delivering recreational therapy services.

Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD, recreational therapy, benefits

Presentation format

Poster

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The Benefits of Recreational Therapy for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder

According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviors” (2018, para. 1). The prevalence rate for autism spectrum disorder is about one in fifty-four children and does not discriminate among backgrounds (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). Several methods have been used to treat ASD; however, recreational therapy stands out because it focuses on improving the quality of life in its clients. According to the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA), recreational therapy is a “…treatment service designed to restore, remediate and rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and independence in life activities, to promote health and wellness as well as reduce or eliminate the activity limitations and restrictions to participation in life situations caused by an illness or disabling condition” (ATRA, n.d.). The purpose of this study was to identify the benefits of recreational therapy for people with ASD and acknowledge the implications for future service delivery. For this study, several articles were analyzed in an attempt to identify benefits of recreational therapy for people with ASD and acknowledge some interventions and/or activities that have proven to be effective in delivering recreational therapy services.

Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD, recreational therapy, benefits