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Tina Brown
4/12 Discussion
Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:18am

The topic that I have chosen for the issue paper is the philosophical concerns of the recreational therapy profession. Recreational therapy can go in two directions as it develops into a more popular career and form of treatment for patients. At one end of the spectrum, recreational therapy can take the parks and recreation definition of RT which is to provide patients with a leisure outcome. On the opposite end of the spectrum, recreational therapy can take the health care definition and help people gain a functional outcome.A leisure outcome means that after recreational therapy services, patients can participate in meaningful free-time activities such as sports and other recreation-based activities. A functional outcome means that after recreational therapy services, patients will gain basic functioning such as cognitive, emotional, physical, and social skills.

People who argue that recreational therapy provides a leisure outcome say that recreation participation and physical education should be the main gain of recreational therapists for their patients. Leisure outcome activists say that during participation in leisure, clients should be included in the least restrictive setting for recreation and leisure opportunities. Special recreation is the adaptive form of recreation that makes leisure activities more accessible to people with illnesses and disabilities. The recreational therapist’s job in an outcome setting would also be to adapt recreation to help disabled persons receive the same benefits from recreation as non-disabled persons.

In the functional outcome end of the spectrum, recreational therapists think that RT should be completely therapy based. An example of functional activities could be improving fine motor or gross motor skills. Professionals, who think that RT should be used to improve the functionality of clients, try to be on the same professional acceptance and financial level as other forms of therapy such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Functional outcome goals ultimately wish to make clients attain better functioning for life, not just functioning used in the leisure realm.

The issue of the philosophical concerns in recreational therapy affects the future of the recreational therapy profession, the work goals of professionals, and the type of therapy that is provided to clients. Also, because not every professional is on the same page with RT intentions, quarrels arise among therapists which ultimately hinders the progress of the profession.

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