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What is the Difference Between Recreational Therapy and Diversion Activities?

What is the Difference Between Recreational Therapy and Diversion Activities?

What is the Difference Between Recreational Therapy and Diversion Activities?

Neighborhood House Adult Day Center has been focusing on transitioning its programming to a Recreational Therapy vs diversion activity model.

According to the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA), Recreational Therapy means 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 to reduce or eliminate the activity limitations and restrictions to participation in life situations caused by an illness or disabling condition.

Recreational Therapists help people who are injured to get active again. They use sports, games, arts, crafts, and music to help patients build confidence as well as physical and mental health. Diversion activities, on the other hand, are conducted by individuals who focus on games and pastimes for fun without the intensive focus on an individual’s rehabilitative needs that is the foundation of Recreational Therapy. Recreational Therapists assess patients need and develop individualized care plans.

Let’s look at bowling, for example. We recently took our clients bowling. While one may look at this activity as just a fun outing for our clients, as Recreational Therapists we incorporate the needs of the client through his or her individualized care plan. With bowling, a Recreational Therapist can assist a client who may have balance issues and need to regain strength. Bowling incorporates both these skills.

In using the recreation model we are able to work daily with our clients to reach their goals as well as provide fun and meaningful activities.


Hailey Hadean – Adult Day Services Director

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