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Dawson, Shay


More about Shay Dawson


  • Over 100 professional presentations
Example Presentations
    • Effect of a Manualized Equine Assisted Therapy Intervention for Adults and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Serbia and the US. Milan Petrovic School, Novi Sad, Serbia (June, 2019).
    • Disability and Medicine Seminar Series., College of Medicine, Central Michigan University. Deliver five separate one-hour presentations each spring to over 370 registered undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty from a variety of program across campus (2022-2024)
    • What Cancer Cannot Do, Keynote Address, Michigan Therapeutic Recreation Association State Conference (March 15th, 2024)
    • Recreational Therapy Presentation, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Special Education and Rehabilitation. (May 14th, 2018) 


  • Austin, D., & Dawson, S. (2023). Processes and Techniques in Therapeutic Recreation: Evidence Based Recreational Therapy Practice. Sagamore Publishing, IL.

Book Chapters

  • Dawson, S., Casio, A., & Ragina, N. (in press). Collaborating with People that Have Disabilities in Healthcare Education. In Intellectual Disabilities and Autism: Ethics and Practice. Springer.
  • Dawson, S. (in press). Recreational Therapy. In Exploring Health Sciences. Eds. Wilson, G. Kona Publishers, NC.
  • Dawson, S. & Piatt, J. (2020). Pediatric Practice. In Recreational Therapy: An Introduction. Eds, Austin, D., Crawford, M., McCormick, B., VanPuybroeck, M.. 5th Ed. Sagamore Publishing, IL.
  • Dawson, S. (2017) International Classification of Disability, Health, and Function. In Perspectives of Recreational Therapy. Eds. Austin, D. & McCormick, B. Sagamore Publishing, IL.
  • Piatt, J. & Dawson, S. (2015). Pediatric Practice. In Recreational Therapy: An Introduction. Eds, Austin, D., Crawford, M., McCormick, B., VanPuybroeck, M.. Sagamore Publishing, IL.
  • Gilbert, K., Gilbert, R., Dawson, S., Beckmeyer, J., & McCormick, B. (2015). The Family Battle Buddies Program. In This Land Is Your Land: Toward a Better Understanding of Nature's Resiliency-Building and Restorative Power for Armed Forces Personnel, Veterans, and their Families. Sagamore Publishing

Peer Reviewed Research

  • Bracken, R. C., Richman, K. A., Garden, R., Fischbein, R., Bhambra, R., Ragina, N., Dawson, S., & Cascio, A. (2023). Developing Disability-Focused Pre-Health and Health Professions Curricula. Journal of Medical Humanities, 44(4), 553-576.
  • Dawson, S., Stanojevic, C., McCormick, B., Tamas, D., Eminovic, F., Lomax, L., Wheeler, L., (2023). Disability in Southeast Europe: Qualitative Analysis of a Faculty Led Study Abroad Program. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 57(3), 271-293.
  • Cushway, K., & Dawson, S. (2023). Egocentric Social Network Analysis of Individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries Attending a Medical Specialty Camp. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 22(1), 21-30.
  • Dawson, S., Scott., E., Elder, L., Omodior, E., & Harrison, A.H., (2023). Kids B.E.A.R. Pain: A Pediatric Psychosocial Chronic Pain Protocol. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 57(2). 
  • Dawson, S., & Mowatt, R. (2022). Analytic Auto Ethnography on Cancer: Implications for Developing Leisure Based Oncology Support Programs. International Journal of the Sociology of Leisure5(2), 269-281.
  • Dawson, S, McCormick, B., Tamas, D., Stanojevic, C., McIntire, J., Bowen, A., Eldridge, L., McKissock, B. (2022). Equine Assisted Therapy with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Serbia and the US: A Pilot Study Intervention. Therapeutic Recreation Journal 56(1)
  • Stanojevic, C., McIntire, J., Bowen, A., Eldridge, L., Dawson, S., McCormick, B., Tamas, D., McKissock, B. (2022). Establishing an Evidence-Based Program through an International Collaboration in Recreational Therapy. Therapeutic Recreation Journal 56(1)
  • McKissock, B., Bowen, A., Dawson, S., Eldridge, L., McIntire, J., Stanojevic, C., McCormick, B., Tamas, D., (2022). Manualized equine-assisted therapy protocol for clients with autism spectrum disorder. Therapeutic Recreation Journal. 56(1). 
  • Dawson, S., McCormick, Knapp, D., Piatt, J., & Dickinson, S. (2021). Effect of a Mentoring Program for Adolescents with Physical Disabilities Attending a Therapeutic Camp. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine. 14(2), 275-284
  • Lee, K. H., Heo, J., Roop, J., & Shay, D. (2019). Proximity to Parks and Natural Areas as an Environmental Determinant to Spatial Disparities in Obesity Prevalence, Applied Geography. 112.
  • Knapp, D., Dawson, S., Piatt, J., Devine, M. A., & Knackmuhs, E. (2018). The comfort derived from social comparisons at a camp for youth with neuromuscular disease. American Journal of Recreation Therapy16 (4), 7-12.
  • Dawson, S., McCormick, B., Li, Jing (2018). Egocentric Social Network Analysis of a Medical Camp for Youth with Physical Disabilities. Therapeutic Recreation Journal. 52(2).
  • Dawson, S. (2017). Social Inoculation and the Extinguishing Effects of Pediatric Medical Camps: Proposing a Framework for the Other 51 Weeks a Year. Journal of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism in Public Health, 1 (1).
  • Dawson, S., Gilbert, K., Gilbert, R., Beckmeyer, J., & McCormick, B. (2016). Family Battle Buddies Program: A Therapeutic Program for Reinte­grating National Guard Families. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 15, (2).
  • Devine, M.A., Piatt, J., Dawson, S. (2015). The role of a disability-specific camp in promoting social acceptance and quality of life for youth with hearing impairments. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 49, (4)
  • Knapp, D., Devine, M.A., Dawson, S., & Piatt, S. (2015) Examining Perceptions of Social Acceptance and Quality of Life of Pediatric Campers with Physical Disabilities, Children's Health Care, 44:1, 1-16.
  • Dawson, S., Knapp, D., & Farmer, J. (2012). “These are my war buddies”: Exploring the Therapeutic Benefits of Social Comparison at a Pediatric Oncology Camp”. Therapeutic Recreation Journal. 46 (4), 313-325.
  • Dawson, S. & Liddicoat, K. (2009) “Camp Gives Me Hope”: Exploring the Therapeutic Use of Community for Adults with Cerebral Palsy” Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 43(4), 9-24.
  • Devine, M.A., & Dawson, S.D., (2010) The Effect of a Residential Camp Experience on Self Esteem and Social Acceptance of Youth with Craniofacial Differences. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 44 (2), 105-120.

  • PhD - Indiana University (School of Public Health)
    • Major Focus Area: Leisure Behavior
    • Minor Focus Area: Social Science Approaches to Health and Healing Systems
  • M.A. – Kent State University
    • Exercise, Leisure, and Sport
    • Concentration in Therapeutic Recreation
  • B.S. – Kent State University
    • Major: Leisure Studies
    • Concentration in Therapeutic Recreation  
    • Minor: Psychology 

  • Creation and testing of evidence based therapeutic interventions  
  • Disability and medicine education
  • Social psychology of disability
  • Psychosocial support programs for youth with disabilities and their families 

  • American Therapeutic Recreation Association
  • Michigan Therapeutic Recreation Association
  • National Council of Therapeutic Recreation Certification 
  • Nationally Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS®) 

Courses Taught

  • RPL 110: Experience of Disability and Social Marginalization
  • RPL 312: Disability in Southeast Europe
  • RPL 340: Recreational Therapy and Rehabilitation: Developmental Disability
  • RPL 342: Recreational Therapy and Rehabilitation: Behavioral Health
  • RPL 580: Programming in Recreational Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • RPL 616: Evidence Based Disability Practices  
  • RPL 617: Disability and Social Functioning