"Recreational therapy, also known as therapeutic recreation, is a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illness and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery and well-being."



Pure Abilities Services



Pure Abilities works with the individual to help maintain physical, social, cognitive, and emotional functioning. The four life domains are treated through therapeutic interventions that support past and present leisure interests from the individuals served. Recreational therapy provides services that are based on the individual’s lifestyle, allowing us to better engage in therapeutic techniques by applying these functional improvements to all areas in their life. We continue with a health-focused approach and pursue to keep them active, healthy and independent as possible.  

Individuals Served

Recreational Therapy serves a variety of populations specifically receiving Medicaid Waiver services in the state of Indiana. The most common populations we see are individual’s with developmental and intellectual disabilities such as Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and Global Developmental Delay.

Areas We Serve

Session Framework

Sessions start out as 1:1 and can develop to become group-based, depending on the activity and client preference. A typical session ranges from 30-90 minutes and includes indoor and outdoor activities based on the client’s lifestyle and interests. Your therapist will lead you through interventions that are challenging but leave you feeling mentally and/or physically stronger and accomplished.


 Therapeutic Interventions

included but not limited to


Adaptive Sports

It’s easy to see how the physical gains of adaptive sports contribute to the psychological benefits. Less pain, better health, increased independence, and more confidence all have a positive impact on mental health and emotional well-being.

Benefits include but aren't limited to


  • Lower levels of pain
  • Decrease secondary health problems
  • Enhanced ability to complete daily activities
  • Increased mobility skills
  • Greater physical independence


  • Improved self-perception
  • Improved mood
  • Improved body-image
  • Lower levels of depression and anxiety
  • Reduction in anger
  • Improved life satisfaction



Aquatic Fitness

Water has been, and still remains, the best environment to achieve full function regardless of the individual’s disabilities — it improves motion and flexibility. The warmth of the water (94°F) and its massaging effects allow muscles to relax while helping to reduce pain. The buoyancy reduces gravitational pull making exercises easier to perform than on land. Best of all, aquatic therapy can be used even if the client does not know how to swim.

The unique properties of the aquatic environment enhance interventions for clients across the age span with musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular/pulmonary, and integumentary diseases, developmental disabilities, disorders, or conditions.

Benefits include but are not limited to

  • Warm water facilitates muscle relaxation, balance, and stability
  • Provides resistance for strength training
  • Improved ambulation and strengthening exercises without causing further damage
  • Decreased pain sensitivity
  • Decrease lower back pain
  • Decrease joint paint from sports or daily repetitive activities
  • Helps muscle weakness secondary to chronic or acute injury or illness

Aquatic Physical Therapy Section


Behavior Modification

The goal of behavior modification is to reduce undesirable behaviors and increase acceptable behaviors. This is accomplished through the use of behavioral techniques such as desensitization, modeling, reinforcement, and aversive conditioning. Behavior modification relies on these conditioning techniques to help individuals make desired changes, rather than focusing on unconscious processes that may play a role in unhealthy or unwanted behaviors. Behavior modification techniques can also work on schedules where certain responses are shaped to increase desired outcomes and that particular reinforcers may be administered at varying times in order to alter behavior.

Dual Diagnosis


Cognitive Retraining

Cognitive retraining is a therapeutic strategy that seeks to improve or restore a person’s skills in the areas of paying attention, remembering, organizing, reasoning and understanding, problem-solving, decision making, and higher level cognitive abilities.

These techniques can be used to assist the client in optimizing daily management of their lives and activities. These strategies have been incorporated into goal-oriented cognitive rehabilitation interventions that aim to produce retained strengths. They support adaptive behavior and achieve optimum levels of well-being by targeting performance on personal goals.

Types of Cognitive Retraining Techniques

  • Attention and concentration retraining
  • Memory retraining
  • Organizational skills retraining
  • Reasoning
  • Problem solving
  • Decision making
  • Executive skills

Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders


Health and Wellness


  • Eating whole foods; i.e. fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds
  • Understanding nutrition labels
  • Decreasing foods high in sugar
  • Healthy food choices when eating out

Moderate Exercise

  • Increased knowledge on cardio/strength/flexibility
  • Positive behavior/mentality
  • Prompts for being socially appropriate
  • Treating others, the way you would want to be treated
  • Mindfulness training; i.e. breathing techniques, yoga, meditation
  • Aromatherapy

Benefits include but aren't limited to

  • Increase overall health
  • Increase self esteem
  • Maintain or protect against diabetes
  • Decrease, maintain, or protect against obesity
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Decrease stress and anxiety
  • Help protect against depression

Play Therapy

The therapist may reflect back to the child observations of what has happened during the session if this is felt to be appropriate. Above all, the child is given “Special Time”. The child is given strategies to cope with difficulties they face in life from which they themselves are unable to change. It provides a more positive view of their future life.

Play therapy provides the client with new ways of self-expression and coping skills. This is completed by using interventions to help reduce behaviors and properly express feelings through a more natural and self-guided healing process.

Types of Techniques

  • Card games
  • Board games
  • Arts and crafts
  • Role playing
  • Dancing
  • Singing
  • Video games

Benefits include but aren't limited to

  • Problem solving skills
  • Develop acceptance of self and others
  • Learn to experience and express emotion
  • Develop self-efficacy
  • Increase social skills
  • Following directions
  • Sequencing
  • Coping Skills

Play Therapy International


Sensory Stimulation

  • Anything with 5 senses
  • Listening to music
  • Essential Oils
  • Playing with Play-Doh
  • Finding items in sand

Benefits include but aren't limited to

  • Increased concentration
  • Increase fine / gross motor skills
  • Increased creativity
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Improve communication

Physical Fitness

Mobility and Flexibility

  • Static stretches
  • Dynamic stretches
  • Mobility exercises

Strength Training

  • Free weights
  • Cables
  • Bodyweight training

Cardiovascular exercise

  • Walk
  • Run track
  • Treadmill
  • Stationary bike
  • Bike
  • Elliptical

Benefits include but are not limited to

  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased mobility
  • Increased strength
  • Increased motor skills
  • Increased cardiovascular health
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Decrease stress and anxiety
  • Protect against obesity
  • Protect against heart disease
  • Protect against osteoporosis
  • Protect against high blood pressure

Completed at Spiece Fieldhouse / YMCAs / Parks and Recreation



Our recreational therapy treatments aim to restore, remediate or rehabilitate to improve functioning skills and independence.

Long-term goals include but are not limited to

Promoting a well-balanced lifestyle
Increased coping skills
Increased social skills
Community reintegration
Improved self-esteem
Improved quality of life
Develop and maintaining a healthy, leisure lifestyle
Fine and gross motor skill development