Development and evaluation of a family recreation intervention for families with an adolescent with an autism spectrum disorder


  • Jasmine Townsend, PhD, CTRS
  • Marieke Van Puymbroeck, PhD, CTRS



family recreation program development, program evaluation, family recreation involvement, recreational therapy, core and balance framework, autism spectrum disorders


Families with an adolescent with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face a variety of barriers in their attempts to participate in recreation activities in their communities, including the fact that few family recreation programs exist for these families. The purpose of this article is to describe the development and evaluation of a family recreation program for families with an adolescent with an ASD. Families participated in an overnight camp experience centered on outdoor recreation activities such as canoeing, fishing, archery, and a challenge course. Parents participated in two leisure education sessions aimed at developing their understanding of family recreation. Results from an importance-performance analysis indicated that parents evaluated the program positively—rating clean facilities, having a fun and relaxing experience, and having a peaceful outdoor experience as highly important aspects of the program that also performed well. Areas for concentration included staff training, specialized instruction, flexibility in programming, and variety in activities, among others. Implications for practice stem from the results of the evaluation and indicate that, as designed, this camp provided an enjoyable family recreation experience for these families, yet areas for improvement remain.

Author Biographies

Jasmine Townsend, PhD, CTRS

Department of Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation Management, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi.

Marieke Van Puymbroeck, PhD, CTRS

Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.


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How to Cite

Townsend, PhD, CTRS, J., & Van Puymbroeck, PhD, CTRS, M. (2012). Development and evaluation of a family recreation intervention for families with an adolescent with an autism spectrum disorder. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 11(4), 27–37.




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