Therapeutic Recreation

This program will be used in ways which enhance health, functional abilities, independence and quality of life in individuals with disabilities. All programs will provide opportunities to bring about change in individual behaviors and abilities while incorporating participant’s individual leisure interests.

Our Mission…

The Therapeutic Recreation Program seeks to provide life-enhancing opportunities for meaningful leisure and recreation experiences, specifically for individuals who have disabilities and their families/caregivers using the following approaches:

  1. Inclusive Approach:
    • Inclusion happens when people with and without disabilities participate in activities and experiences together.  In order for some individuals with disabilities to participate as fully as possible, reasonable accommodations must be made.
    • Reasonable accommodations are individualized techniques and resources used to enhance program participation without fundamentally altering a program. 
    • Reasonable accommodations are based on participant’s need, available resources, and staffing.
    • Inclusion makes it possible for individuals to choose from the assortment of programs offered by NLR Parks and Recreation.  
  2. Specialized Approach:
  • Specialization happens when activities and experiences are geared towards a specific group, characteristic, or skills, such as:
    • Girl Scout Camp – intended for Girl Scouts
    • Basketball Camp – intended for basketball players or those interested in learning skills pertinent to the game.
  • Programs designed specifically to meet the needs of those who have disabilities and their families will be conducted. 
  • Programs may be designed around:
    • Specific disability  – i.e. Autism, Down’s Syndrome, etc…
    • Age groups – i.e. preschool, children, adolescent, adult
    • Family engagement/participation
    • General disability with skill focus – i.e. music camp, cooking program, etc…
  • Specialization offers opportunities for those that need a higher level of care and/or accommodations to participate in leisure or recreation activities successfully.
  • Specialization also affords participants opportunities to engage in experiences with those who have similar lived experiences…. Helping to bring a sense of comradery and belonging to participants.   

What is Therapeutic Recreation?

Therapeutic Recreation, otherwise known as Recreation Therapy or simply TR, is an intentional intervention utilizing play, recreation and leisure activities to promote recovery, health and well-being for individuals with disabilities and/or chronic illness.

The Benefits of TR are endless…

Some common benefits of therapeutic recreation are:

  1. Physical Benefits – Pain reduction, improvement in muscular strength, flexibility and balance, improved gross and fine motor skills, decreased blood pressure.
  2. Cognitive Benefits – Increased attention span, enhanced memory, reduced confusion, enhanced executive functioning, increased awareness and alertness, new skills and knowledge.
  3. Psycho-Social Benefits – Improved stress management, enhanced body image and attitude toward disability, improved social and communication skills, decreased feelings of loneliness.
  4. Emotional Benefits – Reduced fear and anxiety, enhanced coping skills, reduced depression.

Through our TR program we strive to…

  • Provide education through leisure opportunities;
  • Develop self-esteem and confidence through participation in recreation and leisure experiences;
  • Provide emotional and social support to participants and their families/caregivers;
  • Increase community involvement;
  • Ensure success of participation in programs & life-long leisure pursuits;
  • Provide opportunities that foster peer relationships

TR Staff

Our TR staff is led by a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). The CTRS credential is a national certification and is earned through education, experience, and testing.  TR staff are trained in providing community based therapeutic activities and using appropriate equipment and modifications to make participation attainable for all, regardless of ability levels.

Our Therapeutic Recreation Program Leader is Amber Havens.

For more information about this program and its events, please contact Amber at 501-690-0059 or