Examining Therapeutic Recreation Service Delivery for Adults with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities in Community-Based Settings





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With there being a nine-and-a-half percent increase in prevalence of intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) among children in the U.S. over nine years (i.e., 2009-2017; Zablotsky et al., 2019), the number of adults with IDD in our communities is growing and there is great potential for CTRS to produce multi-level and influential opportunities, outcomes, and benefits for adults with IDD through therapeutic recreation (TR) services in community-based settings. However, community-based settings is not a well-represented employment setting among CTRSs in the U.S. This mixed methods study aimed to identify best practices, barriers, and facilitators CTRSs experience when providing TR services to adults with IDD in community-based settings, as well as to examine how COVID has impacted TR service delivery and ideas for future provision of virtual TR services among these CTRSs. A total of 278 CTRSs across the country who work with adults with IDD in community-based settings completed a Qualtrics survey and 15 of these CTRS completed a follow-up, individual interview. Integrated data analysis revealed widespread impacts of COVID, lack of use of evidence-based practice, lack of involvement in evidence-based practice research, and need for standardized assessment and use of evidence-based practice to increase billing for TR services. Important implications for TR service delivery among adults with IDD in community-based settings were revealed, as well as directions for future research.

Author Biography

Lindsey Ryan Oakes, LRT/CTRS, Texas State University

Dr. Lindsey R. Oakes, LRT/CTRS, is an Assistant Professor of Therapeutic Recreation in the Department of Health and Human Performance at Texas State University. Dr. Oakes’ research focuses on social inclusion of individuals with varying abilities, as well as inclusion facilitation and evidence-based therapeutic recreation practice for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.