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North Carolina Recreational Therapy Association

How can  recreation be included as a "related service" in my child's IEP?

Segments from the Therapeutic Recreation in Public Schools (Project TRIPS) web site: Are you aware that recreation has been identified as a related service ever since The Education for All Handicapped Children's Act was authorized in 1975? Many parents are not. The basic entitlements of P.L. 94-142 provide for a free, appropriate public education for all children. In providing appropriate educational services to all students with disabilities, the local education agency must ensure that these students receive all related services necessary for the child to benefit from special education. Related services as defined by the law include: speech pathology and audiology, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, early identification and assessment of disabilities in children, counseling services, and medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes. (Federal Register, 1977, p.42473)

Recreation is identified in P.L. 94-142 as a related service which enhances the educational goals of a child with a disability. If recreation is included in a child's IEP, it cannot be completed by a curricular service such as special education or physical education. Recreation should be provided by a trained Therapeutic Recreation Specialist as specified in the EHA [sections 1211.126(b)2, and 121a.382(a)3]. The actual role of the TRS varies dependent onthe actual school in which he/she is employed. Generally, the TRS serves as a direct service deliverer and/or as a consultant depending on the needs of the students.

Under IDEA, Recreation as a related service includes:

1.  Assessment of Recreation and Leisure Functioning
Assessment of recreation and leisure functioning is a procedure to determine the current functional strengths and needs of students with disabilities in terms of skills, abilities, and attitudes relative to recreation and leisure.

2.  Leisure Education
Leisure education provides students with recreational and educational instruction to promote positive attitudes toward leisure, recognition of the benefits of recreation involvement, the development of skills necessary for recreation participation (such as social, decision making, and planning skills), knowledge of recreation resources, and attitudes and skills that facilitate independent, satisfying leisure experiences.

3.  Therapeutic Recreation
Therapeutic recreation is the use of recreation activities to habilitate or rehabilitate functional abilities, which contribute to behavioral change. 'Therapeutic recreation is a process involving assessment, development of goals and objectives, and the implementation, documentation, and evaluation of intervention strategies.

4. Recreation in Schools and Community Agencies
Recreation in schools and community agencies involves the provision of recreation services that facilitate the full participation of children and youths with disabilities in school and community programs. Activities are used to promote health, growth, development, and independence through self-rewarding leisure pursuits.



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