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Frequently Asked Questions

Recreational Therapy

What is recreational therapy?

"Recreational therapy is a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery, and well-being." (source: ATRA)

In other terms, recreational therapy is the use of fun activities and interventions to assist others in improving various life skills, which ultimately builds independence, improves health, and increases quality of life. In a nutshell, we hide the work in the play!

What activities are involved and how can they be therapeutic?

Some home-based activities include but are not limited to: obstacle courses, board and card games, color recognition games, walks around the neighborhood, video games, movies, cooking skills, and more!

Some community activities include but are not limited to: park visits, mall shopping, amusement parks, library visits, Skyzone, putt putt, professional sporting events, movies, weight lifting/working out, aquatics, engaging in various sports, and more.

An example of how an activity can be therapeutic; An individual who wants to build muscle strength in their hands and fingers in order to complete daily tasks with ease will have a fine motor skills goal. One way to work towards this goal is by playing Uno, which is a great way to exercise hand and finger muscles since it involves handling cards. Uno, along with other fine motor activities, will over time build fine motor strength! Uno has many other therapeutic benefits which includes but is not limited to color/number recognition, matching, cognition/strategic thinking, social skills, positive sportsmanship, direction following, communication, and more!

What qualifications do recreational therapists have?

Recreational therapists are required to hold a minimum of a Bachelors degree in Therapeutic Recreation and successfully pass the certification exam to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), which is the highest level of credentialing available in the state of Indiana.

Behavior Management

What is behavior management?

"Behavior Management includes training, supervision, or assistance in appropriate expression of emotions and desires, compliance, assertiveness, acquisition of socially appropriate behaviors, and the reduction of inappropriate behaviors." (source: IN Home and Community-Based Services)

In other words, behavior management provides hands-on training for individuals in order to replace challenging and/or unhealthy behaviors with more positive and healthy behaviors. This ultimately teaches individuals how to cope and communicate and provides a better quality of life.

What is a behavior support plan?

A behavior support plan, or BSP, outlines what unhealthy behavior(s) an individual would like to improve and strategies to be implemented by all team and family members in order to teach positive skills designed to replace the unhealthy behavior(s).

Each BSP is created once the behavior consultant understands the function and underlying need of each behavior while working with an individual. They then create a strategy that's thoroughly outlined in the BSP that explains the behaviors needing to be improved, how to prevent these behaviors from occurring, how to teach new skills so the individual can learn healthy behaviors, and how a team/family member should respond if a behavior occurs and how to redirect it.

From there, the BSP will then be implemented during sessions with the behavior consultant and all other services providers on the individual's team. The behavior consultant will continue to work with the individual hands-on during scheduled sessions to further enhance therapeutic rapport, evaluate behaviors, assist with learning replacement behaviors, and helping with behavior adjustments.

What qualifications do behavior consultants have?

Behavior consultants at New Leaf are required to have a Masters degree or higher in one of the following:
- Clinical psychology, counseling psychology, school psychology, or another applied health service area of psychology.
- Special education
- Social work
- Counseling (must be a licensed marriage and family therapist, a licensed clinical social worker, or a licensed mental health counselor).

General FAQ

How are these services paid for?

Both recreational therapy and behavior management with New Leaf is fully paid for by Indiana Medicaid funding from the Family Supports Waiver (FSW) and the Community Integration and Habilitation Waiver (CIH).

For those who do not receive waiver funding, we also have a private pay option.

Please click here for more information about our payment options and to apply for services.

Where do sessions take place?

At New Leaf, we are a community and home-based service, so sessions are held either out in the community or in one's home.

Typically at the beginning of services, sessions tend to begin inside the home of the individual for the first few weeks, that way the setting is neutral and comfortable. Once a therapeutic rapport is built and the individual becomes more comfortable with their rec therapist and/or behavior consultant, community activities begin! We will tailor the experience based on the interests, needs, and abilities of the individual.

Are sessions one-on-one or with a group?

Both! At New Leaf, sessions are mostly one-on-one, meaning just the individual and their rec therapist and/or behavior consultant, and group settings occur as often as needed/wanted. This all depends on the interests, needs, and goals of the individual.

How long and how frequently do sessions occur?

For Medicaid waiver individuals, the length and frequency of sessions all depends on the budget that the state of Indiana assigns to the individual and how much of that budget they are willing to allocate to recreational therapy and/or behavior management. Individuals with a smaller budget may see their rec therapist/behavior consultant for 2 hours once a week, while others with a bigger budget may see their rec therapist/behavior consultant for 2 hours 3 times a week.

For self pay individuals, the length and frequency of sessions will be determined based on your personal budget.

What is the length of treatment?

The length of treatment will not have an end date if you do not want one.

The state of Indiana recognizes recreational therapy and behavior management as a lifelong service, as goals and needs change over time. This not only assists in the building of a longterm therapeutic rapport, but also gives the individual an opportunity to reach multiple milestones of life with the same rec therapist/behavior consultant.

For reference, one of our New Leaf rec therapists has been working with an individual since 2008!

What about transportation?

The rec therapist/behavior consultant is responsible for transporting individuals to and from their home at no cost, unless transportation with staff or family members has been discussed and organized.

To assure that individuals are safe in the cars of our rec therapist/behavior consultant, we require everyone to submit routine state and county background checks, maintenance status' on vehicles, and copies of current car registration and insurance. Please contact us if you have any further questions or concerns regarding transportation.

Where are you located?

Our headquarters is located in Fort Wayne, IN, but we have recreational therapists and behavior consultants serving individuals all around the state of Indiana. Please click here for a visual of what counties we serve. If your county is not listed, please contact us!

How do I get started?

Please fill out this form and we will contact you as soon as possible!

In the mean time, please visit these resources below to learn more about the Indiana Medicaid waiver and to see if you may be eligible to receive funding if you don't already.

- Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services

- Family Supports Waiver

- Community Habilitation and Integreation Waiver

- Indiana Medicaid Waiver Process

I'd like to join your team, how do I apply?

Please click here for more information about our current open positions and email your resume to [email protected]!

Do you accept interns?

Yes we do! We currently accept recreational therapy interns year-round in various parts of Indiana. We will be accepting behavior management interns starting in 2023. Please click here for more information about internship opportunities and email your resume to [email protected]