Hooray! It’s Recreation Therapy Month!

Hi, I’m Erin! You’ve probably seen me around the Playhouse and I wanted to introduce myself. I am a graduate of University of Toledo and a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. For our Playhouse, I am the Fitness Coordinator, Youth Board Facilitator, currently lead the Fantastic Friends program, and tutor our amazing Clementine in math and literacy.  On a National level for our GiGi’s at Home programming, I lead three exercise programs virtually each week!  I love volunteering with GiGi’s Playhouse because it aligns with my passion for my career in Recreation Therapy.  As a Recreation therapist, I currently work on an Inpatient Pediatric Psychiatric floor and Fairview Hospital and I also teach adapted exercise/aquatic therapy for a company called Rec2Connect Foundation. Haven’t heard of Rec. therapy before? That’s ok! I get asked questions all the time, and I love advocating for what I do!

 

So, what is Recreation therapy? Recreation therapy uses play, exercise, and other recreation activities (such as art or music) as therapy to develop/restore physical, cognitive, social, and emotional skills. Basically I get to have a ton of fun helping people!

 

Who can benefit from Recreation Therapy? Everyone! Recreation therapy can be used with infants, children, teenagers, adults and even older adults.  I mean, who doesn’t love to play?

 

What kind of activities do we do? Everything from exercise to creative expression and games. I play kickball, I sing karaoke, I dance – a lot. I even play UNO from time to time! My favorites include cardio drumming, collaging, yoga and adapted aquatics!

 

Where can you find Recreation Therapy? Recreation therapists work in more places than you might think! Schools, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and maybe even your local community Recreation Center might have recreation therapists working there.

 

How is Recreation Therapy different from other types of therapy? The unique part about Recreation Therapy is getting to use play and leisure activities as intervention. What a person chooses to do in their free time says so much about them, and by sharing that with me I get to connect with individuals in a special way, allowing them to feel comfortable and let that guard down a little bit to really provide effective treatment and helping them achieve their Best of All. 

 

Wait, so it’s just fun and games? While we love having fun, it is purposeful! What you might see as a card game, a Recreation therapist sees an opportunity to work on so many skills, including: following multiple step directions, fine motor skills, problem solving, concentration, matching colors/numbers, practicing turn-taking, verbalizing wants and needs, emotional expression, as well as other social skills. It’s all part of the plan!

 

I love being a Recreation therapist.  I love being able to connect, create, play, move and see growth through that – it’s a beautiful thing!  A quote that always stands out to me is, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a lifetime of conversation.” In my 10 years of working in the field, I have learned this to be completely true.  

 

Have more questions?  Let’s talk more, I am always around the Playhouse or you can send me an email. 

ealexeff@gigisplayhouse.org

2 Comments

  1. Minerva Rivera on February 23, 2021 at 8:33 am

    Are you available for our area? I live in Canfield, Ohio 44406.

    • emaxwell on February 23, 2021 at 10:18 am

      Hi Minerva! Thank you for asking! We would love to have you or your family member join one of our virtual programs through our Cleveland Playhouse or through our GiGi’s at Home programming. I am going to email you now to connect! – Lizz Maxwell, Site Director

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