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, December 20, 2006

Recreational Therapy in the Next Year

I am wondering what the new year will bring for the profession of recreational therapy. It looks like it may bring curriculum reform, at least at the entry-level, as there is a group that is moving ahead to create guidelines/standards for curriculum. This is really needed and I am appreciative that Norma Stumbo, Thom Skalko, Peg Connolly, and others are providing leadership for this movement.

I wonder if other faculty will come forward to show leadership for creating curriculum standards for graduate programs? Both the master's and doctorate programs need attention. Our sister discipline of occupational therapy is moving to a master's degree as an entry-level degree. Physical Therapy has moved to a practice doctorate. Speech and hearing has also gone to a practice doctorate. It seems time for recreational therapy to join its sister professions in giving more attention to graduate preparation. Who is willing to come forward to lead the charge?

Is a name change for ATRA going to occur this coming year? Recently there have been several name changes of national organizations. AAHPERD is the most recent -- changing to the American Alliance for Health and Physical Activity. I don't believe that ATRA best describes who our organization represents or what the members do. ATRA represents recreational therapists who do health protection and health promotion. People just do not understand the expression "therapeutic recreation" but they do have a concept of "recreational therapy." I believe it has hurt the advancement of the profession to use TR and that we need to move now to RT. A good signal for this would be a name change for ATRA this year.

If our profession of recreational therapy can make strides in undergraduate and graduate preparation and bring about a name change for our national organization next year, I think 2007 could be a great year!


Blogger Debbie said...

It is mentioned that a group of folks are creating guidelines/ standards for TR curriculum. I wonder if these will match the same skill standards that many other professions have adopted, many through their various post-secondary institutions, beginning in the early 90'. As I perused some of these standards, I thought it would be a great tool for TR and a major start to the standardization of aspects of our profession. For further info see For some examples, see or or

7:09 PM  

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