Brain Injury Care Provider

Therapeutic recreation for children with complex needs

When caring for a child with complex needs, it is essential to remember that they need opportunities to explore, play, and enjoy recreational activities.

Therapeutic recreation combines the joy of play with the benefit of therapy, aimed at enhancing the physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being of children with complex needs. It can be tailored to ensure that every child’s individual needs are met.

Understanding therapeutic recreation

Therapeutic recreation is a systematic process that utilises recreation to achieve specific health goals.

For children with complex needs, these interventions are adapted to suit individual abilities and needs, focusing on the child’s strengths rather than their limitations.

Benefits of therapeutic recreation

  1. Physical development – adapted physical activities can help improve motor skills, coordination, balance, and overall physical health.
  2. Emotional well-being – therapeutic recreation promotes self-esteem and emotional regulation, helping children express and manage their feelings.
  3. Cognitive growth – activities that require problem-solving and decision-making can stimulate cognitive development and enhance concentration and memory.
  4. Social integration – through group activities, children can develop social skills, form friendships, and foster a sense of community.

Types of therapeutic recreation

There are different types of therapeutic recreation which can all be adjusted to suit every child’s individual needs.

  • Sensory play – Involves activities that stimulate the child’s senses, like touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing. This can include water play, playing with textured materials, and exploring different sounds.
  • Art and music therapy – Creating art and making music provide opportunities for self-expression. These therapies can be tailored to suit the child’s abilities, promoting creativity and emotional expression.
  • Animal-assisted therapy – Interaction with animals has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Riding therapy with horses, or simply spending time with specially trained dogs, can create joyful and calming experiences.
  • Adapted sports and games – Traditional games and sports can be adapted to suit a child’s abilities. Whether it’s wheelchair basketball or simple board games, these activities encourage teamwork, strategy, and physical fitness.
  • Nature and outdoor activities – Exploring nature and spending time outdoors can have profound effects on well-being. Adapted gardening or simple nature walks encourage exploration, learning, and appreciation for the environment.

Therapeutic recreation plan

Creating a successful therapeutic recreation plan requires collaboration between parents, therapists, and caregivers.

Understanding the child’s needs, interests, and abilities is vital in designing activities that are both engaging and beneficial.

Furthermore, as each child’s medical condition and preferences are unique, the activities should be adapted to suit their needs and abilities.

At Almond Care Children’s Services, we offer a rounded approach in our therapeutic services, meaning we have a variety of different types of therapy to help every child overcome their difficulties, whilst catering specifically to their individual needs.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help your child, contact us today.


Call us today!

For a free, no-obligation discussion about our UK complex care in the home for brain injury, spinal cord injury, long-term ventilation, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and other neurological conditions, please click here or call 024 7610 2333.