Frequently Asked Questions

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!

How can activities and having fun be therapeutically beneficial?

While interventions may look like all fun and games at the surface, there is always an underlying purpose. Each intervention during a recreational therapy session will always correlate back to an individual's treatment plan, which is developed by the therapist after 4-5 sessions.


For example, 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 activities/interventions are involved?

The activities that can be incorporated during a recreational therapy session are practically endless!


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!


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!

How is it paid for?

Recreational therapy 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 therapist, 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 therapist, and group settings occur as often as needed/wanted. This all depends on the interests and needs 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. Individuals with a smaller recreational therapy budget may see their therapist for 2 hours once a week, while others with a bigger recreational therapy budget may see their therapist 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 as a lifelong service, as goals and needs change as time goes by. This not only assists in the building of a longterm therapeutic rapport, but also gives the individual an opportunity to reach various life milestones while with the same therapist.


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

What about transportation?

The therapist is responsible for transporting individuals to and from their home at no cost, unless the therapist has organized transportation with staff or family members.

What kind of 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.

Where are you located?

Our headquarters is located in Fort Wayne, IN, but we have recreational therapists 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 interns year-round in various parts of Indiana. Please click here for more information about this opportunity and email your resume to [email protected]