Magazine article Parks & Recreation

The Roving Recreation Specialist in Transitional Living Settings

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

The Roving Recreation Specialist in Transitional Living Settings

Article excerpt

Today, the majority of people with disabilities live, play and work within their communities. Since the early 1970s when de-institutionalization became prevalent, transitional living settings such as group homes and coached individual living environments have become more prevalent. Transitional living settings may serve individuals with a wide variety of mental, physical or emotional disabilities as well as individuals who may be at risk or in the criminal justice system. The term "transitional" indicates a living setting that provides some type of treatment/rehabilitation or support services to bridge the gap between a larger, more restricted "institutional" living environment and completely independent living. The transitional living setting often serves six or fewer residents.

Meeting the recreation therapy needs of these individuals is more complicated when they are spread throughout the community. Accommodating this need is the roving recreation therapist, a qualified individual who can serve a number of different transitional living settings in the community, all on a mobile basis.


The duties of a roving recreation therapist may include assessment and case management as well as staff training and support. Assessment, includes looking at individual residents interests, leisure skills and barriers to leisure fulfillment and then formulating an individualized leisure lifestyle plan that fits into the overall individual program plan or individual service plan (now often in the style of personal futures planning for the resident).

A suggested outline of the resident leisure lifestyle plan includes: observation, leisure preference list dislikes, current home leisure activities, current community activities, leisure barriers, long-term and short-term leisure objectives, co-treatment suggestions, suggested plan, weekly schedule and contacts. This plan is revised every six months both for resident and direct care staff use. Direct care staff are responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the plan.

Staff Training and Support

The roving recreation therapist is a consultant to the transitional living residents and staff. The Roving Recreation Therapist trains all staff an provides support when needed, although, it is impossible to provide daily direct services to residents. The following is an overview of 10 staff training topics and a brief description of content.

1. Leisure: What is it? -- It can be "free time," an activity or a state of mind.

2. Why Do We Need Leisure? -- Leisure is a source of many benefits, including: self esteem, stress management, socialization, belonging, community inclusion, and joy. …

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