Therapeutic Recreation

Who We Are

Therapeutic Recreation recognizes play, leisure, and recreation as fundamental components to achieving a high quality of life.

Therapeutic Recreation can be defined as the application of recreational activities or interventions where the goal is to improve and/or maintain the health, functional capacities, and quality of life our children and their families. Therapeutic Recreation promotes and supports the participation of children with disabilities in recreational activities.  This service assists children with developing leisure skills and knowledge, and works closely with community programs to include children with special needs.


This service provides therapeutic recreation intervention and education for Centre clients ages 4-18 years and their families. In addition, therapeutic recreation works with community providers to increase their capacity to integrate Centre clients into community recreation programs. 

 Individual Assessment and Intervention

Following a referral, the Recreation Therapist will assess your child’s current participation in recreation as well as your child and family’s leisure preferences, develop a plan that will involve recommendations for increasing participation as well as refer and connect you with appropriate Niagara Children's Centre skill development programs and community recreational opportunities. They can also connect you with support for funding and adapted equipment.


Eye Openers *
Niagara Children's Centre offers free trial programs called “Eye Openers”, which gives clients & families the opportunity to try out a new community program. Eye Openers are hosted at the centre or community venue. Look in the Events section for upcoming Eye Openers.
* Eye Openers are generously supported by our 2016-17 Community Outreach Partner Meridian Credit Union.
Skill Development Programs 
A multiple week program for Recreation Therapy clients, with targeted activities designed to promote socialization, recreation participation and develop individual skills. 
Following the multi-week program, the recreation therapist will help you to find a community program(s) to continue your child’s skill development, and further encourage hobbies and interests that are important to the healthy development of all children. Children are referred into the program by the Recreation Therapist based on their assessment. 
E.g. Music and Movement*, Martial Arts*
*These programs are generously supported by RBC Learn to Play. RBC Learn to Play Project grants are funded by RBC and the Public Health Agency of Canada and delivered by ParticipACTION.
Family Programs
These programs may be one time or ones that run for several weeks and allow families to participate together.  Programs are open to all families of children on Niagara Children’s Centre Caseload.  
Community Linked Programs
These programs are community-run and last for several weeks.  They are open to Niagara Children’s Centre clients (and at times their siblings).  These programs are supported by the Recreation Therapy service but run by the community group associated with the program. Example: Sports Club, Boccia team.
Special Events
These may include activities such as Family Skate, Guest speakers, Educational sessions, Summer Challenges, Camp Expos, Bike or other adapted recreation equipment Expos.

Contact and Referrals

Referrals to Therapeutic Recreation are made by Centre therapists. If you are interested in knowing more about what may be available for your child please speak to your therapist or contact the Therapeutic Recreationist, Jaymieson O'Neill.
(905) 688-1890 ext. 127

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Resources and Links

  • Recreation Therapy Calendar

    Winter 2018
  • Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association

    This site has a listing of all the universities and colleges in Canada that offer therapeutic recreation degree of diploma programs.
  • Therapeutic Recreation Ontario

    This provincial group promotes the profession of therapeutic recreation.
  • Niagara Families

    Niagara families is a blog and resource guide dedicated to families living in and visiting the niagara region.

Upcoming Events

  • Colour Me Creative Craft Club

    January 22 - March 5 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

    Date: Mondays, January 22- March 5 Time: 5- 6pm Gives… More >

  • Happy Meals

    January 23 9:30 am - 12:00 pm

    Tuesday, January 23, 9:30 AM – 12 NOON  Parent education… More >

  • Get Out, Get Active

    February 7 9:30 am - 11:00 am

    Wednesday, February 7, 9:30-11:00 AM PRESENTATION ROOM   We invite… More >

  • Eye Opener: The Painted Turtle

    February 12 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

    Come join in the creative fun at The Painted Turtle.… More >

  • Sensory Processing

    February 27 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm

    A parent education session designed to provide parents with information… More >

  • Sensory Swim at St. Catharines Kiwanis Centre

    March 20 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

    Splash around and learn about sensory games and activities for… More >