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Making Leisure Matter: Promoting Meaningful Leisure Participation for Children and Youth in School, Clinic and Community Settings


All children and youth have a right to participate in and enjoy healthy hobbies and interests. Participation in out-of-school leisure activities benefits youth socially, emotionally, physically, and academically. Many youth (those with disabilities, mental health challenges, or who live in poverty) face barriers to participation in leisure limiting the development of healthy hobbies/interests.  Learn creative strategies for promoting leisure participation at the individualized (leisure coaching), targeted (small group), and universal (whole school or community) levels. Success stories of the impact of meaningful leisure participation in inclusive school and community settings for youth experiencing leisure deprivation will be shared.

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What you'll receive:

  • Power Point presentation (pdf) and bonus video tour of the website. Access to webinar for 90 days.
  • Personalized certificate of completion with contact hours after you have completed the webinar and submitted the feedback form

Contact hours: 2.0


David Weiss, OTR/L
Jenny Negrey, MOT, OTR/L
Maria Llerena, OTR/L
Susan Bazyk, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Topic Outline:

  • Benefits associated with structured leisure participation (mental health, physical, social, academic)
  • Youth at-risk of leisure deprivation
  • School legislation (IDEA) supporting leisure participation for youth with disabilities
  • Promoting leisure participation using multi-tiered systems of supports at the universal (Tier 1), targeted small group (Tier 2), and individualized leisure coaching (Tier 3) levels
  • Success stories of promoting leisure participation in youth with a range of challenges including disabilities (physical, developmental), mental and behavioral disorders, and environmental (poverty)
  • Video vignettes will highlight youth and family perceptions of the social, emotional & physical benefits of leisure participation
  • Advocacy for leisure participation in inclusive school and community settings.


  • Communicate the benefits of and barriers to the development of healthy hobbies and leisure interests for youth with disabilities, mental health challenges, and those living in poverty
  • Identify youth at-risk of leisure deprivation
  • Identify the types of extracurricular leisure services and supports that students with disabilities have a right to receive under IDEA
  • Give examples of how to foster leisure participation at the universal (Tier 1), targeted small group (Tier 2), and individualized leisure coaching (Tier 3) levels in inclusive school and community settings

Target Audience:

Interdisciplinary school and community providers including occupational therapy practitioners, teachers (general and special education), school counselors and psychologists, school nurses, physical therapists, speech language pathologists, school administrators, PE teachers, youth providers (e.g. coaches).


David Weiss, OTR/L

David Weiss, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist for 22 years and works at the Prentis Autism Center Positive Education Program which is an alternative school in Cleveland, Ohio. His passion is occupational justice, specifically promoting meaningful leisure participation in inclusive settings for youth with autism and significant mental health challenges. As a certified Special Olympics coach, David developed and leads this program in his school which previously had no extracurricular activities. He is a certified crisis intervention trainer and skilled in trauma informed care. David has also been a middle and high school football coach for 17 years.

Jennifer Negrey, MOT, OTR/L, BCP, CLT

Jennifer Negrey is an occupational therapist at Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital for Rehabilitation. She has over 15 years of experience working in pediatrics with board certification in this area.  Jenny currently serves children ages birth through 22 with varying diagnoses. As manager of program development within her department, she has developed and implemented a variety of outpatient leisure groups for children and youth with disabilities and mental health challenges.

Maria C. Llerena, OTR/L

Maria C. Llerena, OTR/L is an occupational therapist at The Achievement Centers for Children in Westlake, Ohio, providing therapy services in its autism classrooms since 2001.  She is also cofounder of The KIDnections Group ( 2012) which provides recreational programs for children and teens with autism or similar social/communication disorders. Throughout her career, she has specialized in working with children and teens with autism in clinic, school and community settings.

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Susan Bazyk, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Susan Bazyk, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA is the founding director of Every Moment Counts, which was launched in 2012. She has 40+ years' experience as an occupational therapy (OT) practitioner, educator, and researcher. In addition to authoring the book, Mental health promotion, prevention, and intervention with children and youth: A guiding framework for occupational therapy (2011), Dr. Bazyk has authored over 40 journal articles and book chapters. Recent awards include Crain's Cleveland Business Health Care Hero Award (2016), AOTA's Award for Innovative and Emerging Practice (2018), and World Learning Fulbright Specialist Award (2019-2024). Sue is committed to building capacity of interdisciplinary teams to learn about and implement Every Moment Counts strategies and programs. She presents and consults both nationally and internationally.

Disclaimer: The Every Moment Counts webinars are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace independent professional judgment. Implementation results depend on participant’s clinical expertise and commitment to best practice with children/youth and families served. As such, Every Moment Counts, LLC is not responsible for the outcomes or results that you anticipate from learning about and using the information presented. 

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