What is a Recreation Therapist?
Recreation therapy at Ranken Jordan integrates children’s leisure and recreation interests into therapy goals as part of our focus on Care Beyond the Bedside.
Our certified Recreation Therapists are trained to provide specialized programming and activities for children that help them adapt to a “new normal” after an injury or illness and prepare them to go home.
Recreation Therapists give children tools they can use for a lifetime. Children at Ranken Jordan learn life skills, participate in activities, and gain new interests that they can continue once they go home.
Our team offers daily group recreational therapy as well as one-on-one time based on individual needs.
How do Recreation Therapists help my child?
Recreation therapy improves children’s social and emotional health and builds confidence as children achieve more function and a better quality of life.
For children age 6 and older, recreation therapy becomes part of their everyday treatment at Ranken Jordan. We learn what children were interested before their injuries or illness to help them adapt those leisure activities or build new interests as needed. Our primary focus is working on children’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive health through recreation therapy.
Every activity has a purpose because play is therapy for children. While a card game is fun, it’s also addressing social, emotional and cognitive skills while also helping children improve their coping skills. In addition, children continue to be part of things so they don’t feel isolated.
Often children have injuries that result in significant life changes. We help children and their families adapt to the “new normal” to live a more fulfilling life. It’s empowering for families to participate in leisure activities with their child so they feel comfortable and confident as they move forward.
Through recreational therapy, we teach children and families how to adapt and get back to the things they enjoyed before their injury, even if it’s in a different way.
A significant part of recreation therapy is teaching children basic life skills that they need when they go home and as they grow up. That may include money management, how to navigate stores and malls, how to interact with people and advocate for themselves, and how to find accessible areas and use resources in the community.
How do Recreational Therapists help my family?
Recreation Therapists provide family activities and trips into the community to help caregivers learn how to navigate new situations with a child who may now use a wheelchair or other assistive device. These outings and “practice sessions” also boost children’s mood and increase confidence in both the children and families.
We also help families find resources and activities in the community that they can do together once they’re home.
How is the experience different at Ranken Jordan because of Recreational Therapists?
Ranken Jordan’s expansive facility offers plenty of spaces for children to explore and socialize that draws them out of their rooms. Specially designed areas such as the Dierbergs Kitchen allow Recreation Therapists to teach children how to cook and to be independent in a non-accessible kitchen.
Other areas designed to promote fun, socialization and learning include an inclusive baseball field, a putting green, beautiful outdoor paths, a playground, and accessible raised garden beds. Recreational Therapists incorporate fresh air and sunshine into as many activities as possible because both are important for overall well-being.
We also have adaptive equipment to expose children to different sports activities. This includes a popular spin class on stationary bikes.
In addition, we offer children varied experiences by continuously implementing new programs, bringing entertaining events to the hospital, and taking children into the community. Our Recreation Therapists are passionate about making sure even children with the most challenging medical conditions can participate in these community integration trips.
We also make sure children don’t miss out on important events such as birthdays and holidays. For example, we take children around the community to see holiday lights, go outside for a snowball fight, and have even created a Halloween haunted house experience at Ranken Jordan.
Spontaneous fun—what children want to do in the moment—is also an essential part of a child’s recovery. We believe in letting kids be kids as an important part of the healing process.
To learn more about how children benefit from Recreational Therapists, please contact us at (314) 872-6448.