RT Blog

Location: Indiana, United States

I became a Professor Emeritus after serving 29 years as a recreational therapy faculty member at Indiana University. I'm a long-time Hoosier, having grown up in Hanover, Indiana. My RT practitioner work was in psych/mental health. After completing my Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, my first faculty position was at the University of North Texas. RT has been a wonderful profession for me as I have had the opportunity to serve as an author and national leader.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Opening at Madison State Hospital

There is a posting effective 10-24-06 for 10 days for a Rehabilitation Therapist 4 positon at Madison State Hospital in Madison, Indiana. Applications need to be sent before Novermber 2 and can be done online via the state job bank. The position will be with the Mentally Retarded/Developmentally Disabled adult unit.

The general number at Madison State Hospital is (812) 265 -2611. The RT Director is Judy Gayle. She may be reached at Judy.Gayle@fssa.IN.gov

Working on ATRA History

My efforts to develop a 20 year ATRA history have resulted in the collection of a large number of documents. Included are responses from past ATRA leaders on some of what they considered topics to be pertinent to the history. I will begin the actual writing of the history shortly. If anyone has information that should be helpful in the writing of the 20 year ATRA history, please comment on the RT Blog or send it to me at daustin@indiana.edu

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Annual in TR Call for Manuscripts

The call for manuscripts is out for the Annual in Therapeutic Recreation. The submission date for Volume 16 is February 14, 2007. Authors should follow the 5th edition of the APA Manual.
This year's editor for the Annual is Norma Stumbo. She may be reached at nstumbo@uiuc.edu

Monday, October 23, 2006

Dan Ferguson's Work in Romania

I just read an email message from Professor Dan Fergerson from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. In it he states that this summer he will again take university students to Romania to work with orphan children who have disabilities. He will take 12 American students with him to provide a structured program of developments play and recreational activities. Dan has taken dozens of American students to Romania since he began the program in 1999.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Effective Management in TR Service

In visiting the Venture Publishing web site I noticed that the second edition of Carter and O'Morrow's Effective Management in Therapeutic Recreation Service has been published.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

On Social Support

In the October issue of APA's Monitor on Psychology there appear a couple of short articles on social support. One ("Reducing Stress Helps Both Brain and Body") discusses the stress tempering effects of increased social support. The other ("Restaurants Serve Social Substence") talks about the social support found by regular customers in restaurants. Places, such as restaurants, are sometimes termed "third places" due to occupying a third place in people's lives after work and home. I would think many recreational activities (e.g., being on a team, belonging to a club) provide a "third place" where social support may be found.

Past ATRA President Bryan McCormick has long recognized the importance of social support in mental health. He studies social support as a major part of his work at Indiana University. Those who wish to learn more about social support may wish to read McCormick's chapter,"Social Support in Therapeutic Recreation," that appears in Austin, Dattilo, and McCormick's Venture Publishing book Conceptual Foundations for Therapeutic Recreation.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

2006 Disability and Health State Chartbook

In case you missed it, in my post of September 15th, I mentioned that the 2006 Disability and Health State Chartbook has been published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The book is available online and contains a wealth of information. For example, the book covers both national and state-by-state information on the numbers of persons with disabilities. Also listed in the book are resources. Among those listed are the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability and the National Center on Accessibility.This CDC publication is certainly worth a look. The address is http://www.cdc.gov.ncbddd/dh/

Monday, October 16, 2006

Nonverbals in Job Interviews

It has been my long held belief that RT faculty don't always fully prepare their students for job interviews or, for that matter, interviews for internships. While RT students probably receive some instruction on nonverbal communication as part of their professional preparation, they may not think about their body language while in an interview situation. The MSN.com homepage recently featured an article on nonverbal communications in interviewing. A portion of that article follows:

"A lot of job candidates spend a significant amount of time worrying about what they will say during their interview, only to blow it all with their body language. The old adage, "It's not what you say, it's how you say it," still holds meaning, even if you're not talking. You need to effectively communicate your professionalism both verbally and nonverbally.

"Because watching your nonverbal cues, delivering concise answers and expressing your enthusiasm at once can be difficult when you're nervous, here's a guide to walk you through it:Have them at 'hello.' Before you walk into the interview, it's assumed that you will have done the following: prepared yourself by reading up on the company and recent company news; practiced what you'll say to some of the more common interview questions; and followed the 'what to wear on your interview' advice. So you're ready, right? Some hiring managers claim they can spot a possible candidate for a job within 30 seconds or less, and while a lot of that has to do with the way you look, it's also in your body language. Don't walk in pulling up your pantyhose or readjusting your tie; pull yourself together before you stand up to greet the hiring manager or enter their office. Avoid a "dead fish" handshake and confidently -- but not too firmly -- grasp your interviewer's hand and make eye contact while saying hello. Shake your hand, watch yourselfIf you are rocking back in your chair, shaking your foot, drumming your fingers or scratching your... anything, you're going to look like your going to look the type of future employee who wouldn't be able to stay focused, if even for a few minutes. It's a not a game of charades, it's a job interview.

"Here's what to do (and not do):
Rub the back of your head or neck. Even if you really do just have a cramp in your neck, these gestures make you look disinterested.
Rub or touch your nose. This suggests that you're not being completely honest, and it's gross.
Sit with your armed folded across your chest. You'll appear unfriendly and disengaged.
Cross your legs and idly shake one over the other. It's distracting and shows how uncomfortable you are.
Lean your body towards the door. You'll appear ready to make a mad dash for the door.
Slouch back in your seat. This will make you appear disinterested and unprepared.
Stare back blankly. This is a look people naturally adapt when they are trying to distance themselves.
Sit up straight, and lean slightly forward in your chair. In addition to projecting interest and engagement in the interaction, aligning your body's position to that of the interviewer's shows admiration and agreement.
Show your enthusiasm by keeping an interested expression. Nod and make positive gestures in moderation to avoid looking like a bobblehead.
Establish a comfortable amount of personal space between you and the interviewer. Invading personal space (anything more than 20 inches) could make the interviewer feel uncomfortable and take the focus away from your conversation.
Limit your application of colognes and perfumes. Invading aromas can arouse allergies. Being the candidate that gave the interviewer a headache isn't going to do anything in your favor.
If you have more than one person interviewing you at once, make sure you briefly address both people with your gaze (without looking like a tennis spectator) and return your attention to the person who has asked you a question.
Interruptions can happen. If they do, refrain from staring at your interviewer while they address their immediate business and motion your willingness to leave if they need privacy.
Stand up and smile even if you are on a phone interview. Standing increases your level of alertness and allows you to become more engaged in the conversation.
Say Goodbye GracefullyAfter a few well-thought-out questions and answers with your interviewer, it's almost over, but don't lose your cool just yet. Make sure your goodbye handshake is just as confident now as it was going in. Keep that going while you walk through the office building, into the elevator and onto the street. Once safely in your car, a cab or some other measurable safe distance from the scene of your interview, it's safe to let go. You may have aced it, but the last thing you want is some elaborate end-zone dance type of routine killing all your hard work at the last moment."

I would hope that RT educators share these tips with their students. And students reading this may wish to practice their nonverbal communication skills while role playing job interviews.

APS weblog

I just ran across a blog on psychological science and human behavior sponsored by the Association for Psychological Science. The most recent post discusses the new book, Social Intelligence. If you want to take a look, the address of the APS blog is www.psychogicalscience.org/onlyhuman

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How Do You Look?

I just read a nursing article titled "How Do You Look?" in the October ANA journal American Nurse Today. The author discusses some of the history of uniforms worn by nurses and then talks about what today's nurses wear.

While reading the article, I recalled how we RTs at Evansville State Hospital in the 1960 wore clothes that set us apart from other staff. The men wore light blue oxford cloth shirts and dark blue pants while the women dressed in light blue tops and dark blue skirts or slacks. All of us wore white name tags with our names and Recreation Therapist under our names. Everyone at the hospital knew the RTs by their uniforms.

Thinking back on this made me wonder how today's RTs dress at work. Do any still wear uniforms? Would uniforms be good for RTs?

The "How Do You Look?" article ends by asking four questions to ask yourself. Here they are rephrased for RTs. The questions are: (a) What impression does this ensemble make on those around me? (b) Does this outfit distinguish me as an RT? (c) Do I feel professional in these clothes? (d) Does this clothing provide comfort while projecting a serious image?

I'd really enjoy any comments on this issue.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Article on Impact of Motor Activity on Brain

The most recent issue of the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science (Vol. 15, No. 4) contains a literature review article that should be of interest of at least some RT researchers and practitioners. The article (pp. 203 - 206) is "The Impact of Motor Activity and Inactivity on the Brain: Implications for the Prevention and Treatment of Nervous-System Disorders."

The authors, Martin Woodlee (University of Texas at Austin) and Timothy Schallert (University of Michigan), conclude: "Increased activity, in the form of exercise, learning new motor skills, or even exposure to more complex environments, has many effects on brain structure. Increased activity also appears useful in preventing and treating some neurological discorders, in which more fertile conditions may exist for use-dependent brain changes" (p. 206).

Friday, October 06, 2006

Allied Health Professions Week Handbook

A Handbook for Celebrating Allied Health Professions Week is packed with ideas. The web address is http://www.healthpronet.org/docs/631_AlliedHB_06.pdf

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Allied Health Professions Week, Nov 5 - 11

ATRA Communications Coordinator, Laurie Jake, today distributed information on "Allied Health Professions Week," to be held November 5 - 11, 2006. This week offers RTs an opportunity to celebrate allied health professions, including recreational therapy.

Allied Health Week provides a great occasion for RTs to collaborate with fellow allied health professions in promoting allied health professions. Laurie has indicated that there are any number of ways to bring attention to RT as an allied health profession. Among these, perhaps the most obvious is for state or local RT organizations to adventise allied health week in publications. Or a luncheon might be held with other allied health professions in a hospital where the CEO speaks of the value of allied health services. To increase public awareness, RTs can join with other allied health professionals in preparing news releases on Allied Health Week or put up posters at the hospital. RTs are creative people so I am sure you will think of many ways to celebrate Allied Health Professions Week. Have fun!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Lively Exchange by ATRA Educators

In recent days, there has been some lively exchange through a series of e-mails using the ATRA Educators listserve. The initial issue dealt with accreditation of university TR/RT curricula.

The impact of the TR accreditation program of the Council on Accreditation has been minimum for years following the decision that universities could elect to have their overall programs accreditated but not their TR programs. Therefore, a university can claim its program is accrediated without any examination of the TR curriculum. Sound confusing? It is.

The TR Educators e-mail exchange has grown beyond the initial accreditation issue to a wider issue of the profession exercising control over itself-- rather than allowing organizations like NRPA and AALR to control TR/RT. Stay tuned....

SIU Assistantships Available

Professor Marjorie Malkin has announced two graduate assistanships at Southern Illinois University. One will be available for January 15, 2007. The second assistantship position will start in May or August, 2007.

For information, e-mail Professor Malkin or Professor Heewon Yang. Malkin's address is mmalkin@siu.edu and Yang may be reached at hyang@siu.edu

By the way, both Malkin and Yang are outstanding professors -- so these assistantships are good ones!