Leading National Behavioral Healthcare Provider

Call 1-800-345-1292

  • June Awareness Month
  • Inspirational messages of Hope banner
  • Careers at Devereux
  • Commitment to Diversity
  • Who we help

Tweet Share on LinkedIn Send email Print

Recreational Therapy Month: Helping youth, adults with special needs stay active and engaged

“By using activities, such as aquatic therapy, board games and culinary classes, recreational therapy can help children, adolescents and adults reduce stress and anxiety; build self-confidence and self-esteem; and lead healthier and happier lives.”
— Devereux Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical/Medical Officer Yolanda Graham, M.D.

February is Recreational Therapy Month and Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health wants to highlight the significant impact recreational activities can have on individuals living with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences.

“Recreational therapy is designed to help youth and adults improve their overall quality of life,” said Graham. “By participating in recreational activities on regular basis, either one-on-one or in a group, the individuals we serve have the opportunity to realize their inherent strengths; learn new skills; achieve their goals and, most importantly, have fun.”

Collaboration is key to success

In March 2020, Devereux created a National Recreation Committee comprised of recreation specialists who meet virtually every week to share creative and effective ways to keep the individuals in their care happy, engaged and fulfilled.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to work with colleagues from across the country. This has been especially important during COVID-19 as we look for fun, innovative and safe ways to help our individuals stay active,” explained Devereux Colorado Recreation Programs Manager Alex Dorsam, M.S. “While each center serves a different population, we share ideas that will translate from one center to another. We have even held national events, including a no-bake cooking competition, pumpkin painting contest and gingerbread house competition.”

Dorsam says he values and appreciates the input he receives from his colleagues as they work together to help the individuals they serve grow and thrive.

“Everyone brings a different perspective to the table. I find out what recreational activities other centers are implementing, determine how I can make them work at Devereux Colorado, and vice versa,” Dorsam shared. “We recently held a series of virtual talent shows, an idea shared by our Texas center. Youth had the opportunity to showcase their singing, dancing and comedic skills – it was a huge success. Over the summer, I organized Devereux Colorado’s first Cardboard Regatta. A total of 10 teams received two sheets of cardboard and one roll of duct tape – and they had 40 minutes to design and build a racing craft. They then raced their boats against the other teams in our pool. We also held our very own campus Olympics, which lasted two weeks and featured swimming relays, three-point shooting contests, ‘Minute to Win It’ games, track and field events, and more.”

Benefits of recreational activities

At Devereux, providing fun, safe and effective recreational activities is a critical component of the successful treatment of youth and adults with special needs. Dorsam says the physical, social, emotional and cognitive benefits of these opportunities include:

  • Boosted self-esteem and self-efficacy
  • Reduced stress, anxiety and depression
  • Improved physical fitness, strength and coordination
  • Increased socialization
  • Enhanced mental alertness and attention span
  • Boosted problem-solving skills
  • Increased independence
  • Strengthened resilience

“By playing a sport, doing arts and crafts, gardening or climbing a rock wall, we emphasize the importance of self-confidence, perseverance, following expectations and being respectful,” Dorsam said. “One day, one of our individuals was climbing a rock wall when he stopped about half-way up and told our team he could not go any farther. Staff members encouraged him and told him he could get to the top – and he did! He later told us, ‘I always say I can’t and you guys tell me I can. I guess I can always do more than I think I can.’ He learned in that moment to never give up, an important lesson for all of our individuals.”

Learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.

 

Latest News

Samantha VanAlstyne   Devereux New York adult writes children’s book about journey with cerebral palsy

Samantha VanAlstyne is a devoted aunt, dedicated college student - and most recently - published author. VanAlstyne, who receives services through Devereux New York, wrote a children’s book titled, “Hi, I’m Sam,” about her journey with cerebral palsy and learning self-acceptance.

Devereux’s Glenholme School   Devereux’s Glenholme School celebrates its history, focuses on the future

What once was a country estate nestled in the lush, green rolling hills of Washington, Conn., is now Devereux Connecticut - The Glenholme School, a special needs boarding and day school, thanks to a generous donation more than 50 years ago from the Van Sinderen family.

Reginald “Reggie” Lewis   Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health features Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership Executive Director Reginald Lewis as conference keynote speaker

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health recently featured Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership Executive Director Reginald “Reggie” Lewis as its keynote speaker during the organization’s 2021 Servant Leadership Champions Conference. The virtual conference brought together more than 50 emerging leaders for three days of intensive training to continue driving Servant Leadership best practices and behaviors across the organization.

Devereux Arizona   Devereux Arizona offers LGBTQ, gender-expansive integrated care

Devereux Arizona recently began providing LGBTQ and gender-expansive affirming integrated care to better meet the needs of youth enrolled in the organization’s outpatient program in Phoenix.

Tanika Williams   Celebrating Devereux’s Healthcare Heroes: Spotlight on Devereux New York Residential Manager Tanika Williams

At Devereux, our employees are at the heart of everything we do - and are key to our success. Learn how Devereux New York Residential Manager Tanika Williams is serving and inspiring others every day.

Jessica Kemp, Ph.D., NCSP   Devereux MA/RI clinician featured in Rhode Island Small Business Journal article on remote learning

Read this Rhode Island Small Business Journal article featuring Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island Therapeutic Day School Clinician Jessica Kemp, Ph.D., NCSP, as she shares tips she recently provided during a Department of Revenue presentation to help students, families and caregivers embrace online learning.

Colleen Eddy   Article with Devereux Pennsylvania CBHS doctoral intern as lead author selected as SPR ‘Article of the Year’

An article examining teachers’ classroom management practices authored by Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Behavioral Health Services doctoral intern Colleen Eddy and colleagues, was recently selected as the “2020 Article of the Year” by the National Association of School Psychologists’ flagship journal, School Psychology Review.

Devereux Florida   WKMG-TV spotlights Devereux Florida’s partnership with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to support mental health needs

Read this WKMG-TV report spotlighting Devereux Florida’s partnership with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to launch a Behavioral Response Unit. Since January, two clinician-deputy teams have responded to nearly 400 mental health-related calls across Orange County.

Jessica Kemp, Ph.D., NCSP   Devereux MA/RI clinician shares remote learning tips during Department of Revenue presentation

Devereux Massachusetts and Rhode Island Therapeutic Day School Clinician Jessica Kemp, Ph.D., NCSP, recently offered tips to help parents engage children in remote instruction during a virtual panel discussion hosted by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s Diversity Council.


More Stories