Therapeutic Play: As A Recreational Therapy Modality For Children

*This course has been pre-approved by NCTRC for 1.25 clock hours.

In this course, students will explore the therapeutic benefits of play, particularly best practices related to supporting pediatric clients through play in Recreation Therapy and Therapeutic Recreation programs. In particular, students will explore the therapeutic role of play for children with mental health needs, disabilities, and co-diagnoses, especially exploring play as a form of processing, a method of connection, and a setting for learning and exploration

Course Objectives

  • Students will demonstrate a developed understanding of the therapeutic benefits of play and ways to support the therapeutic goals of RT clients through the modality of play

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of best practices related to using therapeutic play with pediatric clients with mental health needs, disabilities, and co-diagnoses. Students will demonstrate a trauma-informed conceptualization of play

  • Along with this, students will demonstrate competency related to utilizing play as an RT/TR modality by completing the “Therapeutic Play” online course and passing an online exam based on the course with a score of at least 70% within 365 days of starting the course

Kim Shepard, MPH, CTRS

Instructor Bio:

My name is Kim Shepard, CTRS, MPH, and I am a Recreation Therapist is very passionate about community-based services, pediatric Recreation Therapy services, and inclusive play! I have my Master’s in Recreation Therapy through the School of Public Health at Indiana University and a large part of my experience comes through working in the therapeutic camp setting as well as providing holistic care for clients, working alongside and in collaboration with other therapeutic health professionals and educators. My interest in Recreation Therapy came from working in the therapeutic camp setting for over six years, working with kids and adults with a wide range of disabilities, chronic illnesses, and mental health co-diagnosis needs. I am very passionate about the importance of inclusion, in that it is essential to the health, well-being and progress of our society as a whole! After graduate school, I worked as a Skills Development Clinician, working with children and adults with disability and mental health co-diagnoses in a community setting. After this, I helped develop and open an inclusive play gym for children with and without disabilities, where I served as the Operations Manager as well as developed a Recreation Therapy services program, where I worked with children with disabilities, mental health needs, and co-diagnoses. I left this job in order to pursue Recreation Therapy full-time, developing and running a Recreation Therapy department through a local clinic that works with children and adults with disabilities, mental health needs, and dual diagnoses in community-based and in-home settings. On the side, I also run Play Clothes, which is an independent design project that develops t-shirts related to play, inclusion, and therapeutic professions.

Kim Shepard, MPH, CTRS

SMART Instructor