RM 370 - Introduction to Recreation Therapy


This course is designed as an introduction to therapeutic recreation including history, philosophy, programs, treatment, settings, and research. It is also designed to provide an introduction to different disabilities, diagnoses, and populations served.

Course Outcomes

  1. Identify and explain definitions of therapeutic recreation.
  2. Identify and explain different therapeutic recreation practice models.
  3. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the therapeutic recreation process.
  4. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the areas/settings in which TR is used.
  5. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the historical development of therapeutic recreation.
  6. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the skills and abilities needed to practice TR.
  7. Demonstrate a basic awareness and understanding of the resources and references for practice and continuing education.
  8. Demonstrate a basic understanding of professional associations and organizations at the local and national levels.
  9. Demonstrate a basic understanding of requirements for certification and licensure (academic, fieldwork, and supervision).
  10. Identify and explain the content and services of TR delivery systems.
  11. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the role and function of healthcare and human service systems and TRs’ contribution to each.
  12. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the role and function of other healthcare professionals.
  13. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the characteristics of populations served by TR professionals.

Learning Model Architecture

Students will prepare by completing assigned readings before the week in which they are discussed.

Students will teach one another by participating in discussion throughout the week regarding the course material.

Students will ponder and prove by taking vocabulary quizzes, taking final exam, submitting written review of research, presenting on various forms of disabilities, and gaining experience through practical application of concepts learned.

Required Materials

  1. Anderson, L & Heyne, L. (2012) Therapeutic Recreation Practices: A Strength Approach, 1st Ed. State College, PA: Venture Publishing, Inc. (ISBN: 1892132966)
  2. Carter, M., Van Andel, G. & Robb, G. (2011). Therapeutic Recreation: A Practical Approach (4th edition). Long Grove, IL: Waveland press, Inc. (ISBN-10: 1577666445)
  3. Stumbo, N. & Wardlaw, B (2011). Facilitation of Therapeutic Recreation Service: An Evidence-Based and Best Practice Approach to Techniques and Processes. State College, PA: Venture Publishing, Inc. (ISBN: 189213294X) )—Only one chapter for this class in addition to use in projects, but extensively used in 371, 373, and 472.

Course Structure

Unit 01: Professional Roots (Lessons 02-03)

In order to really be able to define one’s profession and one’s philosophy, one must understand the field for which they are studying. In this unit, we will begin to explore:

Unit 02: Becoming a Helper (Lessons 04-05)

During this unit, students will come to understand what barriers exist for individuals with disabilities, and will evaluate their own perspectives regarding how to be an advocate for individuals with disabilities.

In addition, students will explore the foundation of the profession, including the structure, models, philosophy, and history.

In order to really be able to define one’s profession and one’s philosophy, one must understand the field for which they are studying.

Unit 03: Principles of Successful Practice (Lessons 06-07)

Research shows that within the first five years of working as a Recreational Therapist, the majority of graduates will be in management. For the BYU-I program, many of our graduates end up in management within the first two years of employment. This can be attributed to mission experiences and the BYU-I mission of creating disciple leaders.

Good programs don’t just happen; they are created—just as Heavenly Father has a vision statement “To bring about the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). Good managers and leaders have a vision of what their organization or department should become.

This unit will focus on the management side of developing successful programs.

Unit 04: Community Integration (Lesson 08)

When a client leaves rehab, acute care, or treatment, they are just beginning their journal. Twenty years ago, it was normal for patients to stay in a facility for 2-6 months. Now some of the most severely injured are in rehab for maybe 2 months and then placed in the community. In mental health, 10-15 days used to be considered a short stay. Now it is more realistic to see a stay of between 4-7 days.

Research shows that individuals who have Traumatic Brain Injury respond more positively to a combination of rehabilitation and community integration.

How can we, as recreational therapists, help our clients for the long haul? This unit will focus on the benefits, population served, and types of community integration that are available to our clients.

Unit 05: Population (Lessons 09-13)

Ten percent of the U.S. population has a diagnosed disability. This is projected to increase due to the aging of the baby-boomer generation. How do you make sure that you are serving your client to the best of your ability? How do you ensure that you do no harm to your client as you implement therapeutic practice? The answer is to learn about the various impairments people are diagnosed with and how they are similar and different.

You can’t give quality care if you do not understand your clients. This unit will focus on impairment classification, functional characteristics, the benefits that are offered through receiving therapeutic recreation treatment, and intervention techniques that are best used.

Grading Policies

All assignments are to be completed and submitted prior to their respective due dates on I-Learn, unless otherwise specified by the instructor.

Assignments with Worth as a Percentage of Total Grade
Discussion Board participation 5
Outlines for Readings 10
Summaries of Podcasts & Presentations 10
Article critiques (3 @ 15 points) 7
Digital Notebook 7
Practical Experience & Evaluation Paper 8
YouTube Assignment (5 @ 10 points) 8
Journal Reflections (7 x 20) 5
Group Topic & Disability Presentations 15
Treatment Plan/Individual Program Plan 5
Vocabulary Quiz (11 @ 20 points) + (1 x 10 points) 10
Final Exam 5
Additional Assignments 5
Total 100

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