Recreation Evaluation

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The therapeutic recreation process is a systematic method of planning and providing services for individuals with disabilities. The process is based on a systems theory approach. The system is designed for a guide for a well-defined, goal-oriented purpose to the activity or program being provided. It involves four phases: assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation. Use of the therapeutic recreation process is not dependent on location, but on systematic and consistent use of assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating services for people with disabilities. The process is applied in settings like hospitals, long-term facilities and useful in leisure education and recreation participation settings, like park and recreation agencies and schools. Delivering therapeutic recreation services in community setting has been successful when the therapeutic recreation process is applied. It is not the setting that determines the use of the therapeutic recreation process, but the needs of the clients. Using the therapeutic recreation process allows the therapeutic recreation specialist to individualize within recreation programs designed specifically for people with disabilities and to systematically develop support plans for inclusive recreation programs. The therapists conducts an assessment that identifies the client’s abilities and limitations by asking a series of questions related to social skills and observing their interactions with their peers. Information is gathered not only for the client, but also from family, caregiver, social worker, friends, and vocational counselor to provide thorough information prior to participation so that the client needs may be addressed. The purpose is to determine the needs of the individual in relation to the independent functioning in recreation settings. Materials include questions designed to determine an individual’s needs related to independent recreation participation. Program descriptions clarify activity content, participation requirements, possible risks, and intended outcomes that aid in determining these needs. Thorough and accurate information about the individual is necessary, even when participation is self initiated and voluntary. Without accurate information the quality of an assessment is compromised. Programs and activities may be pre-planned; assessments enable the therapeutic recreation specialist to individualize interventions, accommodations, and teaching strategies within group activities. For example, the leisure education program in which the client is registered may have a group goal to improve socialization skills through participation in group activities, but the client will have a goal more specific to their needs, such as the client will use socially appropriate means to identify deficits in specific activity skill (i.e. sports), as well as general skill (i. e. social skills). In addition, assessments for an individual participating in a specialized recreation program may differ from an assessment used with someone who is interested in participating in an inclusive recreation program. Assessments applied to those participating in separate programs often ask for more detail about the person’s level of functioning that an assessment used to analyze participation in inclusive recreation would. A unique aspect of a community recreation assessment is that it can be a lifelong process. Unlike treatment settings, such as hospitals where a therapeutic recreation specialist may only work with and individual for a brief period of time, people with disabilities who participate in community recreation programs often remain involved in programs for many years. From the assessment of the client’s social skills, the therapist discovered that the client had trouble initiating and sustaining conversations. For example, the client would stand by themselves and watch their peers rather than joining in conversations. When the client’s peers would include them in...
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