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news News Tuesday, February 18, 2020 Tuesday, February 18, 2020 12:43 PM - Tuesday, February 18, 2020 12:43 PM

February is National Recreational Therapy Month

February is National Recreational Therapy Month

At Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland, we recognize the value of recreational therapy and the amazing benefits it gives to our patients.

Recreational therapy is an activity-based form of rehabilitation that addresses the needs of an individual in a variety of ways. These needs include physical and psychological health, recovery and overall well-being. Our recreational therapy program aims to promote an active and healthy lifestyle while increasing the quality of life for patients through outdoor adventure, sports, creative movement, art and social engagement.

The Portland Shriners Hospital staff utilizes recreational therapy as a way to eliminate barriers to activity and enable community inclusion. Caroline Scott, recreational therapist and program coordinator at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland, echoes this mission. “My favorite challenge is when someone says ‘I can’t do that.' Certainly it might not look the same, but let me remove as many barriers as I possibly can and give you as many adaptations as you need and show you how you can try,” said Caroline.

In order to make sure each patient’s experience is successful and meaningful, the patient’s registration is carefully reviewed to ensure that necessary adaptive equipment is available for them. In addition, Caroline will connect with the patient’s physical, occupational and speech therapists to review any goals that the patient may be working toward, and identify ways in which she can help achieve them in their recreational therapy session.

Leo has been a patient of the Portland Shriners Hospital ever since he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 18 months old, and he is a regular participant of the recreational therapy program. “Leo is a very physical kid who loves sports and being active, and the recreational therapy program has given him the opportunity to swim, horseback ride, practice archery, garden, and his favorite – rock climb,” said Leo’s mother, Rashelle. “He has expressed to me how meaningful it is for him to have the opportunity to participate in activities with ‘kids like me.' The opportunity to engage in recreation with other kids with disabilities is empowering and normalizing for him.”

With ongoing support from our volunteers and community partners, the Portland Shriners Hospital offers a large range of activities to our patients year-round! This month, the recreational therapy program is offering activities in collaboration with Adventures Without Limits, Archery World, and Forward Stride to provide snowshoeing, archery and horseback riding opportunities. Also in the line-up this month is swimming and music therapy. With such a wide array of activities, the Portland Shriners Hospital staff aims to give current patients exposure to activities they may never have thought to try.

Access the Winter 2020 Recreational Therapy & Movement Arts Program.