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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Much Discussion on RT/TR Curriculum

Communications using the ATRA educators listserve have been rapid recently. As a result, a group has formed to discuss steps in improving RT/TR university curricula with the intent of developing accrediation standards. Norma Stumbo, Thom Skelko, and Peg Connolly are among those who have organized the group.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pilates aids Patients with Parkinson's

In the Healthy Living section of today's Indianapolis Star there appeared an article that stated clinical evidence has suggested Pilates' effectiveness in providing patients relief from Parkinson's symptoms. The article states: "Instructors say the basic principle of Pilates - increasing core strength and improving flexibility and balance - is extremely helpful in countering the effects of Parkinson's in some people."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Obesity and Persons with Mental Illness

From NCPAD Newsletters of 11-17-06:

"The prevalence of obesity among people with disabilities is significantly higher than in the general population. Individuals who have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression, for example, have a significantly higher rate of obesity compared to the general population, which some experts believe is related to the types of medications they are taking along with poor lifestyle choices. The health risks associated with obesity among people with mental illness lead to higher rates of other health problems such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes, as well as decreased adherence to medication. Thus, it is extremely important for researchers to find innovative ways to reduce obesity among people with mental illness to avoid the deleterious effects of excess weight, which, when added to the multiple effects of various psychotropic medications, creates significant health risks in this population."

Obesity is a major problem for those with mental illness. It seems to me that RTs should lead the way in the provision of physical activity programs for persons with mental illness. What do you think?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Exercise Increases Brain Size of Older Adults

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have found that the brain size of older adults can be increased through an aerobic exercise program. The findings that an exercise intervention can increase brain volume agree with the researchers' 2003 study that showed a correlaton between physical fitness and brain tissue loss in older adults. The study was published in the the November issue of the Journal of Gerontology by Arthur F. Kramer and colleagues.

Thus, it pays for older to maintain an aerobic fitness program in order not to experience brain tissue loss -- and to actually show gains in brain size. Swimming, biking and walking offer means to anti-aging in the brain.

Faculty Opening at Brock

Colleen Hood, Chair of the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at Brock University in the Niagara Pennisula of Canada, has announced an opening for an assistant professor in inclusive and therapeutic recreation. The closing date is January 12, 2007.

Waltzing to Health Research

I recently saw a newpaper article that had a headline that read "Waltzing Helps Heart-Attack Patients as Much as Using Treatmill." The article related that Italian researchers had found that waltzing was just as effective as bicycle and treadmill training in improving exercise capacity in heart-failure patients. The article went on: "Dancers also reported slightly more improvement in sleep, mood, and the ability to do hobbies, do housework and have sex than the others."

"This may be a more effective way of getting people to exercise and may be more fun than running on a treadmill" stated one cardiologist. Because it is sometimes difficult to get people with heart problems to stick with exercise programs, dancing may prove to be an enjoyable means to obtain the exercise these people need.

I'll search around to see if I can locate the origional research study. If I can, I'll report on it. In the meanwhile, RTs may wish to suggest to their clients "Let's dance!"

Starlight Starbright Provides Online Games

The Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation is a non-profit that offers support to seriously ill children and their families. The foundation now is providing interactive games free online to help children learn about their diseases and have fun at the same time. An example is the interactive game titled "The Sickle Cell Slime-O-Rama Game" that may be found on the foundation's web site at www.starlight.org

Friday, November 24, 2006

Opportunity at Clemson for CTRS

Professor Judi Voelkl of Clemson University recently sent out an announcement that her university has posted a job announcement for the position of Associate Director of Student Services, Facilities and Marketing for Clemson's Outdoor Lab. They prefer to hire a CTRS.

Information on Clemson's Outdoor Lab may be found at http://www.clemson.edu/outdoorlab/

Clemson Professor Denise Anderson is heading the Search Committee. Dr. Anderson's contact information is (864) 656-5679 or dander2@clemson.edu

RT Opening at Logansport

Bridget Lawson, CTRS, recently sent out a job announcement through the Recreation Therapists of Indiana listserve. The opening is for a Rehabilitation Therapist at Logansport State Hospital, Logansport, Indiana.

The person will work with clients diagnosed with mental illness and MR/DD. Those interested may contact the Human Resources Department at (574) 722-4141 or the Rehab Director, Melissa Stewart, at (574) 737-3711.

Book That Should be of Interest to RTs

I recently ran across a book titled Natural Relief for Axniety: Complementary Strategies for Easing Fear, Panic & Worry. On the cover it states the book provides "a broad spectrum of drug-free remdies that deal with the major sources of anxiety." RTs should find much in this book that may be applied with their clients.

While Austin's TR textbook, Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques, covers many of the same topics found in Natural Relief for Axniety, this new book contains a number of activities and exercises that RTs may wish to apply with clients. Chapters include such topics as relaxation, exercise as a natural outlet for anxiety, thinking calm, and meditation.

Natural Relief for Axniety was authored by Edmund J. Bourne, Arlen Brownstein, and Lorna Garano and was published by New Harbinger Publications, Inc. in 2004. I found my copy at a Borders store.

New Baby

Some may have noticed that few posts have been made on the RT Blog in November. That is because I have been in North Carolina for the birth of our second grandchild. Grace Tooze was born on November 13th. She was 9 lbs 4 oz and 23 1/2 inches -- a big girl. Both she and her mother are doing well.

Monday, November 06, 2006

RTV Video Resources

I just read an email message from Professor Chuck Killingsworth in which he discussed instructional DVDs he has obtained to use in his courses. Seeing his message prompted me to wonder if RT educators and recreational therapists are aware that the Recreation Therapy Videos, produced by Indiana University, are still available to borrow.

Among the 23 Recreation Therapy Video Project (RTV) videos are titles such as: "TR Models: Leisure Ability Model"; "TR Models: Health Protection/Health Promotion"; "Professionalism in Therapeutic Recreation"; "Professional Ethics"; "Pioneers in Therapeutic Recreation"; and "History of Therapeutic Recreation Parts I, II, III & To Serve a Purpose."

Each of 23 RTV videos is described on the Indiana University TR web site. To access the IU TR web pages, go to http://www.indiana.edu/~iutr/

On the left side of the main page of the IU TR web site are a series of boxes. One is labeled "Recreation Therapy Videos." Just click on it and the full listing of RTV titles/descriptions will appear.

Having directed the RTV Project, I have received many positive comments about the RTV series. If you are not familiar with the titles, I hope you will have a look.

RT Position in Indiana

I recently received a job announcement via the Recreation Therapists of Indiana listserve. I thought I should post it on the RT Blog. The information follows:

Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Indiana--Jackson and Lawrence Counties

Our company is seeking a full-time Recreational Therapist to provide home-based services for individuals with MR/DD. Applicants must be a CTRS for elibility OR eligible to sit for the certification exam in January.

Job responsibilities include:
Completing assessments to determine an individuals functional skills and abilities, identifying strengths and need areas.
Developing individualized treatment plans by identifying goals, objectives, interventions, and recommendations for activity adaptations.
Providing education and training to families and support staff in the area of therapeutic recreation.
Assisting individuals, families, and support staff with awareness and utilization of community resources and supports.
Working with individuals 1:1, implementing home and/or community-based therapeutic activities to address goal areas.
Ongoing evaluation of client progress towards treatment goals.
Great opportunity to work in a non-traditional work setting with flexibility and opportunities to apply your creative ideas.

Our company provides benefits including stipend for therapy supplies, 401K, and medical insurance. Please email your resume and cover letter to officesupport@meaningfuldays.com
Mandy D. McQueeney, BS, CTRS
Phone: 317-709-2772
Behavior Consultation and Therapy Services, Inc.

ICF and RT -- Information from David Howard

David Howard, Ph.D., from Indiana State University, recently sent me the following on the ICF for the RT Blog. I appreciate Professor Howard's work with the ICF and am providing this post from him FYI. Here it is:

Since its inception over a half-century ago, the World Health Organization has worked for the “attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health,” defining health as, “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (World Health Organization, 1946). In 2001, the WHO published the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) as one part of their Family of International Classifications (the ICD being the other part). The ICF offers us a contemporary framework that conceptualizes health thru a focus on a) body functions and structures, b) activities and participation, and c) contextual factors (environmental and personal). The four primary aims of the ICF are: a) to provide a scientific basis for understanding and studying health and health outcomes, b) to establish a common language for describing health in order to improve communication at all levels of health and society, c) to permit comparison of data across countries, health care disciplines, and health-related services, and d) to provide a systemic coding scheme for heath information systems.

For recreation and leisure professionals, the ICF is a very important conceptual model and classification system – inclusive of information for those involved in therapeutic recreation – whether one’s focus is clinical treatment and rehabilitation work or inclusion, wellness, and or health promotion activities.

Since the release of the ICF, many organizations and health care professions have acted to adopt the language, framework, and classification system of the ICF. In October 2005, the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) endorsed the ICF with the following statement:

The concepts and terminology of the ICF are compatible with recreational therapy practice. ATRA supports, the use of ICF language and terminology in recreational therapy practice guidelines, standards of practice, curriculum development, public policy, international relations, and research. ATRA also acknowledges the significance of the use of the ICF classification and coding system as a vehicle to clarify and enhance practice and research in recreational therapy.

For each of the past twelve years, the North American Collaborating Center (NACC) Conference meetings on the ICF has been held, co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States and the Canadian Institute for Health Information in Canada. Therapeutic recreation professionals have attended the past four of these conferences, with the next conference being held June 2007 in Niagara Falls, NY. Information about the next NACC conference can be found via the Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange (CIRRIE) website. ATRA continues to work with the American Psychological Association in a multi-disciplinary effort to publish a manual for the application of the ICF for health professionals. Other professional organizations that have played primary roles in the creation of this manual include the American Speech Language Hearing Association, the American Occupational Therapy Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the American Physical Therapy Association.

No less important, the ICF has a role in inclusion, health promotion, and wellness efforts for all members of society, including people with disabilities. An example of this is Healthy People 2010, the nations’ health agenda which has two goals: a) increasing quality and years of healthy life and b) eliminating health disparities. Within HP2010 are twenty-eight focus areas, including cancer (Ch. 3), educational and community-based programs (Ch. 7), mental health and mental disorders (Ch. 18), physical activity and fitness (Ch. 22), and substance abuse (Ch. 26). Salient to most therapeutic recreation specialists, Chapter 6, labeled Disability and Secondary Conditions is conceptually grounded on the ICF, and the ICF may have an even prominent role in the development of Healthy People 2020 within the next few years.

Hopefully, the reader will take advantage of the many opportunities to further educate themselves about the ICF and its potential role in practice, research, and policy-making endeavors.

Links the reader may find useful in learning more about the ICF include:

WHO/ICF (www.who.int/classifications/icf/en/)
NACC (www.icfconference.com)
CIRRIE (http://cirrie.buffalo.edu)
HP2010 (www.healthypeople.gov)
Healthier US (www.healthierus.gov)