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Examining the Use of Therapeutic Recreation in Schools and the Implications on Students’ Social Interaction Behaviors

Heather L. Shultz, Angela J. Wozencroft, David F. Cihak


The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a therapeutic recreation program on social interaction behaviors of students with disabilities. Specifically, this paper examines a service-learning course called Project Therapeutic Recreation in Public Schools (TRiPS) offered at a large public university in the Southeast. In the current study, 18 students with disabilities were observed on five social interaction behaviors: (1) “motor gestural positive” behaviors, (2) “motor gestural negative” behaviors, (3) “vocal verbal positive” behaviors, (4) “vocal verbal negative” behaviors, and (5) “response to environment” behaviors. Results indicated instances where there was an increase in the frequency of students with disabilities’ social interaction behaviors. Further examination of the developed activities implemented provides insight into why significant differences in some social interaction behaviors exists and direction for future research. Limitations of the study and implications are discussed.

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schools; Social Interaction Theory; therapeutic recreation

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