Shay L. Dawson

Adjunct Faculty
Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies
(765) 342-2915
Bradford Woods

  • Kent State University, M.A.
  • Kent State University, B.S.
  • SPH Y225 Disability, Health, and Function
  • SPH R250 International Comparative Exchange: Services for Children with Disabilities
  • SPH Y561 Advanced Processes in Recreational Therapy Practice
  • Board Chair, National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification
  • Director, Recreational Therapy at Bradford Woods
  • Supervisor, Therapeutic ServicesDepartment at Genesis Health Care
  • Coordinator, Respite and Recreation Program (Foster Care Support Program)
Research Interests

My research focuses on the development of empirically based therapeutic support programs that positively impact the social psychological health of children and families impacted by chronic illness, disability, and life stressors. Research centers on the implementation of recreational therapy based social support and health programs to enhance individual and group functioning. Theories focusing on social comparison in illness, network analysis, social capital, loneliness, liminality, and social rank theory are foundational to this line of research.

Selected Publications


Dawson, S. (In review) International Classification of Disability, Health, and Function. In Perspectives of Recreational Thearpy. 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


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.

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

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)

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.